A dystopian drama starring some of Israel's top acting talent, Autonomies is a globally-relevant tale centering on the burning issues of identity, religion, politics and personal freedom. ...
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A dystopian drama starring some of Israel's top acting talent, Autonomies is a globally-relevant tale centering on the burning issues of identity, religion, politics and personal freedom. The story is set in an alternate reality of present day Israel, a nation torn and divided by a wall into the secular "State of Israel", with Tel Aviv as its capital, and the "Haredi Autonomy" in Jerusalem, run by an ultra-Orthodox religious group. Living in the Autonomy, amongst this uneasy territorial status quo, is Broide, a Haredi wheeler-dealer who makes his living smuggling minor contraband between the two regions. One day he receives a life-changing job offer: he is asked to kidnap a little girl at the heart of a custody battle between two families - one Haredi and one secular - and smuggle her across the border between the two territories. This "Solomon's Trial" of a legal saga, followed by the kidnapping of the child, fuels a dramatic uproar that threatens to tear a fragile country to pieces....
Six episodes long, the series doesn't take time to explain how, in this alternative or future reality, first a civil war split Israel into a secular state and a religious state and then a controversial proposal to re-unite the states became an option. But since the premise is so fundamentally imaginary, the integrity and credibility of the environment is vital to the series. And although a more thorough exposition would have been welcome, the presentation is believable. The first couple of episodes set us up and introduce some interesting and well-acted characters, the middle episodes crank up the tension with a well-scripted surprise or two, and the ending holds a surprise of its own in which a relatively minor character assumes importance. But too much else in the final episode seems to be, as we say in Hebrew, "patches upon patches," as if everyone at the conference table got to have a different idea stitched onto the script. I was disappointed, because some of Israel's favorite actors are involved and, up to that point, the series had done a good job of selling the characters and their story.
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