Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmakers Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz revisit some of the characters from their 2004 picture Ve Lakachta Lecha Isha in this mordant examination of family life. It's 1991, the Middle East is still reeling from the impact of the Gulf War, and Ilana (Keren Mor) is an Israeli woman who has become a widow in the wake of her husband's unexpected death. After the funeral, members of the Ilana come to her home for the Jewish ritual of sitting shiva, in which the immediate family observes a week of prayer and contemplation as well-wishers visit. However, Ilana's family does not always get along, and as eight siblings and a number of parents, aunts, uncles and in-laws are brought together in close quarters, tensions rise to the surface over the course of the week. Haim (Moshe Ivgy) is a businessman whose firm is on the verge of bankruptcy after hiring a number of family members and close friends who've let him down. Viviane (Ronit Elkabetz) has left her husband Eliyahu (Simon Abkarian), though for some reason he thinks joining her for shiva will bring them back together, and she finds herself bickering with her sister and longtime rival Simone (Hanna Azoulay Hasfari). Jacques (Rafi Amzaleg) and his wife Lili (Yael Abecassis) are at each others throats, and Therese (Ruby Shoval) and Evelyne (Evelin Hagoel) sped most of their time in the kitchen, spreading malicious gossip about their relatives. Les Septs Jours (aka The Seven Days) was screened as part of the Critics Week series at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.