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In an old apartment building on the wrong side of the tracks, two women, unknown to each other, live across the hall on the second floor. Galia is an assassin involved against her will with the local sex-traffic mafia. All she wants is to reunite with her little daughter that she left back home in Ukraine. Eleanor is a grocery store cashier and a battered wife. She dreams of winning the lottery and running away from her abusive husband. Galia and Eleanor don't know each other, but as neighbors they share two things: an adjoining wall and a strong need to plan their escape. As Galia disobeys her latest contract, a woman target, and Eleanor discovers that she's pregnant, the two women decide to take action against their oppressors in a fight for survival and freedom. Written by
Being familiar with Israeli cinema and hating it, I have to say that I welcomed the idea of this movie when it was announced. Among tearful melodramas, unnecessary and unfair political films, boring war pictures and idiotic romantic dramas, Kirot stood, at first, as the refreshing example of the much needed genre cinema in Israeli film industry.
Just imagine following pitch: sexy Ukrainian woman is forced to work as a prostitute after being threatened and violently beaten. Then she gets a gun and forced to become an assassin, also becomes involved in a lesbian relationship with her neighbor. But when she is given an assignment that she doesn't like, she rises against her abusers and her former pimps in old fashion bloody revenge.
Sounds great, isn't it. Juicy, violent and gory exploitation flick in potential. In some places such idea could turn out to be "Thriller: A Cruel Picture", in others it could turn to be ""Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion", even "Kill Bill", but for some reason in Israel it turned out to be "Kirot", which is more an insult than a compliment.
So maybe no one actually intended to make an exploitation flick here (and really why not?), but this is besides the point. The movie "Kirot" is a pale shadow of any good expectations I've had about the film. Instead of daring plot, bold direction and uncompromising violence all we got here is a boring story with carton characters without any ability to be liked, crude and dull direction, forceful and artificial manipulation on the viewer, and finally many rip offs and little imagination.
And although camera work is somewhat innovative, sometimes even very nice (single shots), it feels disconnected and pointless in connection to the movie itself. Because every part should work together, here each part is pulling to a different direction.
Lerner is not a good director and even worse screenwriter. His rise as the next big thing in Israeli cinema is not surprising, because he is not representing anything new, only an upgrade of the old. You can imagine how bad the old school is if even the younger upgrade still fails where the majority of world cinema succeeds for many years.
A viewer should not spend his time justifying narrative flaws and implausible events, viewer should not be forced to feel sorry for a female character for a sole reason of her being abused by a man, and a viewer should not have only that feeling alone towards her. Seriously, for each character in this film you can only have one single emotion, so underdeveloped and caricature they are. It's like being back in kindergarten when they said to you - "a cow goes moo", because this is the only thing she goes.
Instead of telling a story, defining the characters by their actions, Lerner decides it is time to play very sad piano music while showing the heroine walking on the street and crying, for like 3 minutes. Then to show the depth of her inner desires, wishes and hopes he shows her painting a sad picture on the wall with black colors. So sad (wiping tears). Instead of showing characters trying to deal with the world around them, he shows them escaping it. Instead of showing some kind of character development, because people do change under harsh conditions of reality, he decides that his characters will remain the same, keeping same faces, same attitude, same problems, same idiotic ideals. The characters are stuck in their private hell, each one of them, without any ability to evolve and change. And maybe that was the point of the movie, but doing stupid things intentionally doesn't make them smart.
Which illustrates my point exactly - Israeli filmmakers are simply unable to change, unable to adapt themselves to the current world of film goers and filmmakers. All the talking about new approach, new style, are false statements from someone who doesn't understand what does it mean to be different and innovative. Same all drama, same old forced tears, same old unconvincing conflicts and same old dramatic weaknesses.
Looking for a new path, a fresh start, a new wave in Israeli cinema is still not dead, but it sure will not start with 'Kirot' or Lerner. I am still looking for a day when Israeli filmmakers will not act like homeless beggars, going to film festivals just to collect their season donations. Still looking for a day an Israeli movie will be actually remembered one year after its release, or at least will have more than one comments page on IMDb board.
When announcing the film production Lerner said that the movie will be about two chicks and lots of guns. Far from the truth. More like a depressing love story about people accepting their fate and unable to change. How very relevant in that area of the world.
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