So what attracted me to this film? One – the screenshot. Two – the story sounded right up my alley. A hip Israeli girl wafts around selling drugs and crashing out in empty apartments before finding herself locked in an identity crisis. Also I want to visit
I did enjoy this film but it left me feeling quite frustrated. The ending was just not properly rounded out – films with surrealist aspects a la Bunuel are definitely my tea cup, but they really need to be directed by someone as good as Bunuel. Dealing with concepts such as memory, identity, perception, construction of reality, are all really tempting for younger or inexperienced directors, but they just never seem to be pulled off properly. For films like that to work they need to be silky smooth. A second watching is really required though, because the film ended up being nothing like I expected - which rather than being a pleasant surprise was disappointing. I am keen to go into it a second time without my expectations. Basically I thought it was going to be a character study and it turned out to be this weird pseudo-horror piece.
Maybe my experience was turned partly pear-shaped by my late arrival. Or maybe it was the fucking gigantic drink cups. I mean you get a choice, but if you look at your options it’s really not much of a choice at all. Or maybe it was the crazy laughing cinema douche. You know the one – the wily old pederast that wafts in and sits down the front, only to cackle and haw at the most inappropriate parts. Like the guys who laugh in horror movies – but not at the cheesy bits, only ever at the really awful moments. In fact this guy was laughing at such absurd moments, like at shots that didn’t actually show anything, that I nearly came to the conclusion that he must have been involved in the production, and kept noticing mistakes or remembering on-set laughs. If he hadn’t been curled up in his seat like a mouldy pretzel then I might have concluded with that notion.
The film was shot on High Definition DV (HD) and this was one other aspect that piqued my interest. Since that format is becoming more and more likely the format of the future, and since I still hate it, I want to keep abreast of how features shot on HD look. It is definitely going to be adopted more – there are certainly a lot of benefits to shooting on HD, not the least of which is cost (hence the use for a uni production). However it still does not look as good as film. Film, beautiful film, where light actually burns an image onto the neg, seems so much more natural than digital. At this point in time, film will still win the Pepsi challenge with digital on any day, but the future will most likely change that. So how did it look? Well I was sitting very close to the screen, which won’t have helped, but it did look very digital – for example what were meant to be straight diagonal lines looked more like a little set of steps.
With regards to the picture it is also interesting to note that nearly the whole film is in black and white. It is not marketed that way though – the screen shot is in colour. That actual shot in the movie is in black and white, which leads me to believe that the whole movie was shot in colour and then converted to black and white in post-production. I think the film may have looked better in colour, and it certainly didn’t look like it had been filmed specifically with the intention to later convert it to black and white – judging by the lack of definition and contrast throughout the film. I’m still not sure why they finished it in black and white, maybe because they thought colour would distract too much from the story.
Or maybe it was because the director had his mind set on using a bit of a ‘gimmick’. That said – it’s quite a gimmick. The film contains the best sympathetic representation of a drug experience that I have ever seen. It was done through both the cinematography and sound design, and man, it was fucking cool. But if that scene was kept to the detriment of the overall film, then that’s a mistake. Guess there is no way I’ll ever know.
Another small gripe was the use of repetitive visual techniques – certain shots were repeated over and over, and although I understand what they were trying to achieve, I think maybe there could have been a better way to do it.
All-in-all the movie had me scratching my head, and has left me wanting to see it again, so for a uni-based project, I think that’s pretty damn good. Also Anat Klausner, the lead actress, was excellent. She gave a really strong performance, and I am keen to watch any other films with her in it. Check it out.