Directed by Elie Wajeman
  • France / 
  • 2012 / 
  • French with English subtitles / 
  • 90 min
ALIYAH DVD & Online Streaming

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"Excellent! Atmospheric, tense, smartly crafted - ALIYAH is one of the best films this year!"
– Gary Goldstein, The Los Angeles Times
"[ALIYAH] has a crackling pyschological intensity."
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"Drama-Cum-Thriller from budding auteur Elie Wajeman!"
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter


Alex, 27, lives in a working-class Paris neighborhood and sells drugs for a living, continuously paying off the debts of his brother Isaac (played by French auteur Cedric Kahn), who's becoming a real burden. When his cousin, who has just returned from completing his military service in Israel, tells him he's opening a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Alex thinks that joining him might be the life-changing opportunity he was waiting for. But in order to leave, Alex must quickly find enough money and accomplish his "aliyah" (the term for Jews emigrating to Israel) which involves, among other things, Hebrew lessons and connecting with his Jewish roots. He also has to leave behind his beloved city of Paris, his former lover Esther, his lifelong friend Mathias, and Jeanne, a woman whom he's just met but has the potential of becoming someone important in his life. Torn between making his aliyah, his drug selling, his complicated love life and a destructive brother, Alex will have to find his own way and make a final decision.

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Customer Reviews

Paul Allaer - Customer Review
"Aliyah" (2012 release from France; 88 min.) brings the story of Alex and Isaac, two French-Jewish brothers living in Paris. Alex is a 27 yr. old small time dealer in recreational drugs, and not happy with where he's at. He decides to "make aliyah" (i.e. move to Israel), as he sees an opportunity to make a new start there with his cousin and start a restaurant in Tel Aviv. But complications arise: his older brother Isaac is in ever worse shape, needing money constantly to stay afloat. Then at a family gathering, Alex meets Jeanne, a beautiful and intruiging woman. Will Alex and Isaac find their way out of trouble? Does Alex abandon aliyah to stay with Jeanne in Paris? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. Several comments: writer-director Elie Wajeman does an excellent job of creating a believable setting of a young man pondering the possibility of moving to Israel, ostensibly to run away from his problems in Paris. But at the heart of the movie lies the troubled relationship between Alex and Isaac, with clear bibilcal overtones. This movie gathered quite a buzz upon its initial screening at the 2012 Cannes film festival, and deservedly so. The DVD extras include an (unrelated) 15 min. outstanding shortie, called "On The Way to Tel Aviv" (2008 Israeli release), based on true facts, about what happens when a suspect looking Arab woman boards a bus headed for Tel Aviv: could she be a terrorist? Watch! Meanwhile, "Aliyah" is another excellent addition to the ever-growing Film Movement library, and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Jeff in Seattle - Customer Review
Aliyah had no effect on me. I didn't care for the characters either. A young man decided to quit drug dealing and help start a restaurant in Isreal despite his ties to France, such as family, money needs, and a potential love interest.


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ALIYAH Movie Photo
Alex (Pio Marmai) & Jeanne (Adèle Haenel)
ALIYAH Movie Photo
Alex (Pio Marmai) & Issac (Cédric Kahn)
ALIYAH Movie Photo
Alex (Pio Marmai)
ALIYAH Movie Photo
Alex (Pio Marmai) & Jeanne (Adèle Haenel)
ALIYAH Movie Photo
Alex (Pio Marmai)
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Director Elie Wajeman
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ALIYAH poster