Unlike its peers on the big screen, there are no blockbuster hopes for 39 Pounds of Love, the film makes no controversial political statements and there is no obtuse social commentary. In fact, only because of an inability to translate the intensity of 39 Pounds of Love do we grudgingly check the boxes "documentary" and "film" as appropriate descriptors for the experience that is the story of Ami Ankilewitz. Confining 39 Pounds of Love to a genre it shares with current Hollywood thrillers and comedies is as blatantly inappropriate as lumping Hemingway in with Dan Brown; there is an obvious absence of humanity in the latter, something Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin flushes out unabashedly in the simplicity of Ami's story.
Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and predicted to live less than six years, 34-year-old Ami is completely paralyzed except for one finger on his left hand. A computer animator who requires around the clock care, Ami falls in love with his caretaker and constant companion, Christina. When his declaration of love for her is met with more rejection than enthusiasm, 39-pound Ami chooses to leave Israel and return to the United States, where he was born, on a cross-country adventure in search of the infamous Dr. Cordova who predicted that his life would be cut short.
A chase from sea to shining sea, the road Ami and friends find beneath their feet is an often difficult path to follow, as they mend Ankilewitz family relationships, risk Ami's health and almost fail to find Dr. Cordova.
When Ami is finally able to sit face to face with Dr. Cordova, the most poignant sentence said in the space between them is the moment that delivers Menkin's film into a world where the celluloid disappears and only the touching reality of Ami's life exists: "I'm here to show the world that love for life and love is strong enough to do the impossible."
39 Pounds of Love will premiere in Boise on Tuesday, October 25, at The Flicks Theater, 646 Fulton St. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Boise Parks and Recreation's AdVenture Program, which provides recreation opportunities like whitewater rafting, water skiing and camping for people with disabilities. Money raised from the screening of 39 Pounds of Love will be earmarked specifically to fund a rafting trip for kids with cancer.
The show starts at 7 p.m., tickets are $15 and are available at The Flicks or through the Boise Parks and Recreation Department's Fort Boise Community Center at 700 Robbins Road. For more information, call 384-4486.