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Or shoulders a lot: she's 17 or 18, a student, works evenings at a restaurant, recycles cans and bottles for cash, and tries to keep her mother Ruthie from returning to streetwalking in Tel Aviv. Ruthie calls Or "my treasure," but Ruthie is a burden. She's just out of hospital, weak, and Or has found her a job as a house cleaner. The call of the quick money on the street is tough for Ruthie to ignore. Or's emotions roil further when the mother of the youth she's in love with comes to the flat to warn her off. With love fading and Ruthie perhaps beyond help, Or's choices narrow. Written by
Most of the other comments here about this movie are correct, but they dance around the central issue, I think. But first . . .
First: the acting here is superb. I had to remind myself I wasn't watching a documentary.
Second: the cinematography is unusual and highly effective. It's a certain style that other directors have used (some Japanese guy, for example, whose name escapes me.) Someone here describes it as minimalist, and maybe it is, but it has the effect of putting you in the scene as a sort of innocent bystander. For example, the camera does not always follow the action; rather, it is stationary and the characters pass back and forth. Sometimes they drift off screen, or almost off screen, right in the middle of a scene. In this particular case, it works to great effect. It's as if you're sitting on the couch, ignored, slightly embarrassed, taking it all in.
OK, now for the story. This is a story about sex, women, and men, in its most elemental form. Sex for money, or barter, whatever. Sex for cheap thrills. But mostly, this is about the way that men use women, and IN PARTICULAR how Israeli men relate to women. That's the crux of it, because this film was not shot in Argentina, or Kenya, or Thailand, but in the (so-called) Holy Land. 50 years after the establishment of the state of Israel, once referred to as the Moral Vacation Spot of the World, we see a society which is blatantly exploitive of women. No moral compass here. We get the landlord who cops a feel for the rent. A soldier on leave from the West Bank who demands a blow job. Drunks in the street humping an aging whore. An ex husband who couldn't care less that his former wife walks the streets. This is gritty stuff to see in the land of Jesus & Co.
So, not a fun movie -- leaves you feeling like you just took a nap on the floor of a Greyhound terminal -- but if you're up for well done realism, this is for you.
P.S. Lots of nudity, and sex, but don't expect to get turned on; it's more like watching an xxx flick from inside the porn star's head.
P.P.S. (Written much later) If you're up for another interesting look at Israeli sexuality, there's a documentary called (I think) The First Zionist Bunny. It's about how Playboy selected a host for their cable channel in Israel. Very interesting flick.
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