Directed by Nadav Lapid

Year: 2019
Running Time: 123
Color Type: Color
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Country: France, Israel, Germany
Language: French and Hebrew with English subtitles
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Tom Mercier
Quentin Dolmaire
Louise Chevillotte

Directed by Nadav Lapid

Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale, the latest from Nadav Lapid (The Kindergarten Teacher) features a dynamic lead performance from newcomer Tom Mercier, whose feral intensity practically bursts out of the frame. Mercier plays Yoav, a disaffected young Israeli who flees Tel Aviv for Paris to start a new life. Desperate to erase his origins, Yoav sees becoming French as his only hope for salvation. Step one is to replace his language. From now on, he will not utter a single word of Hebrew and his dictionary becomes his constant companion. His work at the Israeli embassy is a burden, but studying for his naturalization test also has its pitfalls. And the young French couple he befriends has some rather strange ideas about how to help him. Based on writer-director Nadav Lapid's own experiences, Synonyms explores the challenges of putting down roots in a new place. Yoav's attempts to find himself awaken past demons and open up an existential abyss in this tragicomic puzzle that wisely knows how to keep its secrets.


“Critic’s Pick! Furious, brilliant. A movie that turns rage into pain and identity into a howl.”

“Wildly unpredictable. A searing, maddening, explosively brainy movie about the mutability and immutability of the self that, appropriately enough, never stops changing shape.”

"Astonishing. Fascinating, infuriating, frightening, lyrical and befuddling. Plus deadpan funny and frequently stunning as a bittersweet ode to contemporary France, one that’s suffused with New Wave verve."

“A gorgeous picture, with an outstanding turn by a newbie actor named Tom Mercier. Synonyms isn’t just one of the best Israeli or ‘Jewish-themed’ movies of the year, it is one of the year’s highlights, full stop.”

"Critics Pick! Astonishing, maddening, brilliant, hilarious, obstinate, and altogether unmissable."

Intense, feverish, unhinged, deranged, digressive, implacable, impressive. A unique and bristling take on the Paris experience.”

"Deliriously unpredictable... audacious. Breathtaking in the way it careens from one scene to the next in a whirlwind of personal and political meaning. [An] uncategorizable cinematic trip."


“A portrait of an ex-pat that conjures the freedom of beginning a new life from the ground up and benefits from having a lead that leans into his role 110%.”

“[Lapid’s] filmmaking is so powerfully charged, so utterly confident, so in command of its resources and outcomes... Mercier projects a feral intensity, a boundless energy that’s frightening in its freedom.”

"Mercier gives an exquisitely intense performance, while Lapid's camera careens, never allowing the audience to get comfortable. It's a poetic saga about nationality rooted in a deep frustration with Lapid's home country.”

"Bracingly poignant, touching, moving, as well as profound, penetrating, perceptive and astute. Newcomer Tom Mercier is a revelation, awkward and confident in equal measure, bursting the frame with his exuberant mayhem. Synonyms redefines the personal journey of discovery.”

“As an exercise in depicting the disjointed link between national and personal identity, Synonyms is dazzling. As a portrait of displacement in a world becoming both more globalized and more nationalistic, it is a testament.”


  • Golden Bear (Top Prize) – Berlinale / Berlin International Film Festival

  • Official Selection – New York Film Festival

  • Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival

Press Kit

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Venue City Date
Binghamton University / Harpur Film Society Binghampton 1584072000March 13 - March 15, 2020
Austin Film Society Austin 1583726400March 9 - March 11, 2020
AFI Silver Theatre Silver Spring 1582952400February 29 - March 5, 2020
Harris Theater Pittsburgh 1581656400February 14 - February 20, 2020
Cornell Cinema Ithaca 1580878800February 5, 2020
Vermont International Film Festival Burlington 1580360400January 30, 2020
Alamo Drafthouse Omaha Omaha 1580101200January 27, 2020
Cleveland Cinematheque Cleveland 1579928400January 25 - January 26, 2020
Moxie Cinema Springfield 1579842000January 24 - January 30, 2020
Avalon Theatre Washington 1579669200January 22, 2020
Lakewood Ranch Cinemas Lakewood Ranch 1579323600January 18 - January 19, 2020
Mountain Cinema Hunter 1579237200January 17 - January 26, 2020
Cinema Le Clap Quebec City 1579237200January 17 - January 23, 2020
The Loft Cinema Tucson 1578632400January 10 - January 16, 2020
Cinema Moderne Montreal 1578632400January 10 - January 16, 2020
Cinema Beaubien Montreal 1578632400January 10 - January 16, 2020
Cinéma du Musée Montreal 1578632400January 10 - January 16, 2020
Cinema du Parc Montreal 1578632400January 10 - January 16, 2020
Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers Yonkers 1578459600January 8, 2020
Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit 1578027600January 3 - January 5, 2020
The Broadway Theatre Saskatoon 1578027600January 3 - January 9, 2020
Cinematique of Daytona Daytona Beach 1577422800December 27, 2019 - January 9, 2020
Cinema Paradiso - Hollywood Hollywood 1577422800December 27, 2019 - January 2, 2020
Chelsea Theater Chapel Hill 1576818000December 20 - December 26, 2019
Aperture Cinema Winston Salem 1576818000December 20 - December 26, 2019
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Houston 1576818000December 20 - December 22, 2019
Tropic Cinema Key West 1576731600December 19, 2019
Burns Court Cinemas Sarasota 1576213200December 13 - December 19, 2019
Honolulu Museum of Art Honolulu 1576213200December 13 - December 21, 2019
Bytowne Cinema Ottawa 1576213200December 13 - December 19, 2019
Broadway Metro Eugene 1576213200December 13 - December 19, 2019
Wexner Center for the Arts Columbus 1576126800December 12 - December 13, 2019
Nevada Theatre Nevada City 1575781200December 8, 2019
Portland Museum of Art Portland 1575781200December 8 - December 11, 2019
Gene Siskel Film Center Chicago 1575608400December 6 - December 12, 2019
Ryder Film Series Bloomington 1575608400December 6, 2019 - January 12, 2020
Celebration! Woodland Grand Rapids 1575608400December 6 - December 19, 2019
Carbon Arc Cinema Halifax 1575608400December 6, 2019
Guild Cinema Albuquerque 1575349200December 3 - December 8, 2019
Cafritz Hall Washington 1575003600November 29 - December 12, 2019
Living Room Theaters, Boca Raton Boca Raton 1575003600November 29 - December 19, 2019
Lake Worth Playhouse Lake Worth 1575003600November 29 - December 5, 2019
Oklahoma City Museum of Art Oklahoma City 1575003600November 29 - November 30, 2019
Fox Theatre Toronto 1574917200November 28, 2019
Landmark Edina Cinema Edina 1574830800November 27 - November 28, 2019
Roxy Hotel Cinema New York 1574830800November 27 - December 1, 2019
Landmark Ken Cinema San Diego 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Landmark Mayan Theatre Denver 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Landmark E Street Cinema Washington 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Coral Gables Art Cinema Coral Gables 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Landmark Midtown Art Cinema Atlanta 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Cinema Savannah Savannah 1574398800November 22, 2019
Zeitgeist Arts Center New Orleans 1574398800November 22 - November 28, 2019
Landmark Uptown Theatre Minneapolis 1574398800November 22 - November 26, 2019
Time & Space Limited Hudson 1574312400November 21 - December 1, 2019
Crosstown Arts Memphis 1574312400November 21, 2019
Belcourt Theatre Nashville 1574226000November 20 - November 26, 2019
Harkins Theatres Shea 14 Scottsdale 1573794000November 15 - November 21, 2019
Film Streams Omaha 1573794000November 15 - November 21, 2019
Syndicated Brooklyn 1573794000November 15 - November 17, 2019
Landmark Ritz at the Bourse Philadelphia 1573794000November 15 - November 21, 2019
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Madison 1573621200November 13, 2019
Landmark Shattuck Cinemas Berkeley 1573189200November 8 - November 14, 2019
Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema San Francisco 1573189200November 8 - November 21, 2019
Smith Rafael Film Center San Rafael 1573189200November 8 - November 14, 2019
Landmark Kendall Square Cinema Boston 1573189200November 8 - November 21, 2019
Liberty Theatre Camas 1573189200November 8 - November 14, 2019
Ragtag Cinema Columbia 1573016400November 6 - November 7, 2019
Landmark Nuart Theatre Los Angeles 1572580800November 1 - November 7, 2019
TIFF Bell Lightbox Toronto 1572580800November 1 - November 7, 2019
Cinema 21 Portland 1572580800November 1 - November 7, 2019
SIFF Cinema Uptown Seattle 1572580800November 1 - November 7, 2019
Virginia Film Festival Charlottesville 1572062400October 26, 2019
Film at Lincoln Center New York 1571976000October 25 - November 21, 2019
Quad Cinema New York 1571976000October 25, 2019 - January 9, 2020
Milwaukee Film Festival Milwaukee 1571803200October 23 - October 30, 2019
Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal 1571025600October 14 - October 19, 2019
Vancouver Int'l Film Festival Vancouver 1570507200October 8 - October 11, 2019
Mill Valley Film Festival Mill Valley 1570248000October 5 - October 6, 2019
New York Film Festival New York 1569729600September 29 - October 1, 2019
Calgary International Film Festival Calgary 1569297600September 24, 2019
Toronto International Film Festival Toronto 1567656000September 5 - September 15, 2019

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