Golden voice
Music Box Movies
Review by Tami Smith, film review for Shockya
Rating: B +
Director: Evgeny Rouman
Screenwriters: Evgeny Ruman, Ziv Berkovich
Actors: Maria Belkin, Vladimir Friedman, Evelin Hagoel, Uri Klauzner, Alexander Senderovich
Release Date: October 8, 2021

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Soviet Jews were allowed to leave the USSR. Most immigrated to Israel. Golden Voices tells the story of a middle-class couple Vitya (Vladimir Friedman) and Raya (Maria Belkin) who decided to make Aliyah after being fired from their duties as a film voice in the Old Country. Hoping to make a fresh start in the Holy Land, the couple in their sixties were eager to find housing and employment in the radio industry. Opportunities were scarce for Russian language speakers as their skills were not needed, so Raya got a night job doing phone sex for the Russian community, at fifteen shekels an hour. She hid the nature of her job, telling Vitya her job involved “perfume telemarketing.” Vitya got a job distributing government war leaflets while moonlighting with a shady VHS tape company.

Golden voice, a comedy-drama, is based on director Ruman’s childhood experiences after immigrating with his family to Israel in 1990. The film describes the experiences of newcomers who left their culture behind by arriving in a foreign land with a different climate and policy. Two scenes stand out. One is the facial expressions of Vitya and Raya after being given legal gas masks during the Gulf War, followed by a hilarious scene of the couple sitting in a movie theater, as they are watched by thirty masked spectators. . A second scene follows Vitya in a VHS store, watching Dustin Hoffman’s monologue in Kramer vs. Kramer and reciting the speech verbatim in Russian.

Top-notch acting is accomplished by Maria Belkin as Raya. This sixty-two-year-old character keeps his sunny side even while doing a job well below his post. A more subdued performance comes from Vladimir Friedman as Vitya, a former player in the Russian vocal industry now reduced to questionable relationships with shady companies. Evelin Hagoel plays Devora, the owner of a sex call center who takes her job with the determination of a general leading war games on the battlefield, later showing her human side.

Golden voice comes highly recommended for mature audiences who may appreciate understated humor. It was edited by director Ruman. The original music is by Avraham Pirchi, Chilik Michaeli and Tami Leon. English subtitles accompany spoken Hebrew and Russian.

88 minutes Rated: NR © Tami Smith, film reviewer

History: A +
Actor: A +
Technique: B +
Overall: B +