a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

P For Plugging

In this, the week superheroes finally cross the line over to all-out terrorists*, I wrote two pans (third and fourth down), one for the second Zooey-Ferrell joint Winter Passing, one for Amanda Bynes' Twelfth Night "update" She's the Man. And, as ever, Rep. Looks like the review of Or (My Treasure), my sole semi-major blurb in this issue of Rep, got trimmed for space, so I'll reprint the unedited, raw version here. Thank the gods for blogs.
Borrowing the kitchen sink miserablism of the Dardennes Brothers, Karen Yedaya’s expertly naturalistic Israeli drama works a memorably non-judgmental vibe -- all the better to tone down a worldview that lies somewhere between bleak-o-rama and apocalyptic. Late Marriage’s Ronit Elkabetz plays a fortysomething prostitute kept in check (or as much as she can be) by daughter Dana Igvey, a head-on-shoulders teen frequently shown cleaning her apartment and, sometimes, her mother. If you think Igvey stands a chance then you’ve got another thing coming, though Yedaya staves off the inevitable as long as she can. Most of the film consists of a steady accumulation of details, static long takes whose rawness aren’t necessarily Raw, but merely capture the rhythms of lower class Tel Aviv. It’s such a steady tone that the eventual souring almost takes you by surprise, even if you saw it coming; a scene where Elkabetz pays an ill-fated visit to the mother of Igvey’s well-off boyfriend suddenly reveals the class resentment issues that had only been simmering prior. Yedaya’s view of prostitution as a disease passed on in the genes is a hair on the dubious side, but there’s no doubting her talents elsewhere, no less so in the casting department: Yegvy gives the kind of performance that’s brave, alive and never less than authentic, qualities the film itself often shares.

* Good job Sean Burns stiffing SEP for Subpar Eisensteinian Propaganda (sorry) for a lengthy appraisal of Manderlay, finally released into the Philly wilds by IFC Film. Also, amen, brother.


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