In a gritty neighborhood in Haifa, Israel, when cascading events drive an alienating wedge between inseparable brothers, their fierce loyalty is shaken and their interdependence fractured. First-time filmmaker Eran Merav’s Zion and His Brother delivers sensitive insight into the dynamic of close siblings and the adolescent struggle to differentiate oneself from one’s family. With an absent father and a single mother consumed with paying bills and satisfying her boyfriend, tough, smoldering Meir has taken it upon himself to protect his gentle younger brother, Zion. He wheels Zion on his bike and holds his hand at the dentist; and when Zion reports that a schoolmate has stolen his coveted soccer sneakers, Meir handles the problem. But the reprisal spins out of control, and soon Zion understands he’s complicit in a secret only he and Meir share. This terrible pressure and Meir’s clashes with their mother’s boyfriend propel Zion to risk his fraternal allegiance—and sense of security—for a survival mode of his own.In this sensual, almost classical, coming-of-age drama, brought to life with powerful immediacy by Reuven Badalov, Ofer Hayoun, and the always-mesmerizing Ronit Elkabetz (The Band’s Visit), Merav tenderly renders nuanced, layered characters in complex circumstances and sustains exquisite narrative tension, where a lesser storyteller would settle for obvious resolutions. The result is quietly devastating.