KARAOKE by Moshe Rosenthal

KARAOKE by Moshe Rosenthal

Featuring Sasson Gabay, Rita Shukrun, Lior Ashkenazi

Releases in theaters on March 29 and will soon screen at the RACC Annual Diaspora and Feature Film Festival (dates to be announced).

Event Venue:

in theaters

Event Date:

March 29, 2024

KARAOKE, Rosenthal’s feature film debut, was nominated for fourteen Ophir Awards including

Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best

Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Makeup, winning for Best Actor (Sasson Gabay), Best

Actress (Rita Shukrun), Best Music (Gael Lev and Lior Perla) and Best Sound (Vitali

Grinshpun). It was selected for the competition of the Best International Narrative Feature at the

Tribeca Film Festival and won Best First Film and Audience awards at the Jerusalem

International Film Festival. In addition, the film’s US and French remake rights have been sold.


A long-married couple living in an upscale Tel Aviv highrise becomes obsessed with their new,

charismatic neighbor and his karaoke parties. Stars Sasson Gabay (The Band’s Visit, Shtisel,

Gett), Lior Ashkenazi (Footnote, Golda, Foxtrot) and Rita Shukrun (Orange People).


Meir (Sasson Gabay, The Band's Visit, Shtisel, Gett) and Tova (Rita Shukrun, Orange People)

are a Sephardic, upper-middle-class couple with two grown daughters, seemingly resigned to

their semi-retirement in the banal comforts of an upscale apartment complex in a Tel Aviv

suburb. When Itsik (Lior Ashkenazi, Footnote, Golda, Foxtrot), a charismatic bachelor and

former modeling agent, moves into the building’s penthouse and invites them to one of his

Karaoke parties, their lives are gleefully upended. The couple soon becomes obsessed with the

bachelor, competing for his attention while acting out long-dormant ambitions and desires, as they go on their own humorous but deeply human journeys of self-exploration.




In KARAOKE you chose to portray the lives of people in their 60s, while you are still in your 30s, where did this fascination come from?


I find much interest in periods of transformation and in coming of age films. Surprisingly, while

observing my own parents I felt there are a lot of similarities between the transformative years of

your youth, and the transformative years of your retirement. Both have the opportunity for self

discovery. So, in a way KARAOKE became an opportunity for me to make a personal film about

the transformative years of my youth but instead of teenagers, the characters are my parents'



Was there a moment which can be referred to as the first seed that evolved into the script?


There were many moments but there is one that shines brighter than others. A couple of years ago my parents came back from a wedding, very excited.

They told me they met a couple their age and they wanted me to find them on Facebook. I found it extremely sweet and a little bit embarrassing, but Ihelped them. When I opened the couple’s Facebook page, I was shocked by the way this couple looked. They were my parents’ age but had colorful glasses and velvet jackets. They were the most flamboyant 60-year-old people I had ever seen. It made me laugh, but when I looked into my parents' admiring faces, I recognized that excitement - it reminded me of high school, how I admired the new cool kid in school, and how I wanted to be close to him. I could suddenly see the teenagers that still existed in them. That’s when I knew who Meir, Tova and Itsik were.


How would you describe the filmmaking style of KARAOKE?


My personality is split between my romantic side and my cynical side, but I actually believe they

can co-exist in harmony in cinema. So, I tried to make a film that carries this duality, where what

seems to look somewhat silly and absurd can have an “operatic” tone and feel, rooted in the

characters’ soul and internal perspective. This combination can get you emotional while

acknowledging its irony. My wish is that the audience will be shedding a tear, and then quickly

wipe it with an embarrassed chuckle. But it was very important for me not to go fully ironic. I

wanted to keep the right balance, so you wouldn’t feel too cool for school to get emotionally




Thirty-eight year old Moshe Rosenthal graduated from The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. After graduation, he directed music videos and commercials before focusing exclusively on film and television.

His 2016 short SHABATON won the Best Short Film Director award at the Jerusalem Film Festival. OUR WAY BACK (2018), starring Lior Ashkenazi in their first collaboration, was released theatrically in Israel and earned an Israeli Academy Award for Best Short Film. Rosenthal’s 2016 web series about hook-up culture CONFESS won the Grand Prix and Best Screenplay awards at the Marseilles Webfest. Rosenthal won the Sam Spiegel Jerusalem Film Lab’s Jury award for the script of his next feature film INDEPENDENCE.