Israel/B/F/E 2005 93'
Director: Amos Gitai
Script: Amos Gitai, Marie-José Sanselme
Camera: Renato Berta, Laurent Brunet
Sound: Alex Claude
Editing: Yann Dedet
Music: Chava Alberstein, Jaroslav Jakubovic
With: Natalie Portmann, Hanna Laslo, Hiam Abass
La vie des films: Critique FREE ZONE
Gitai's most attractive film, depicting the coexistence of people from the West, Israelis and Palestinians, is based upon excellent performances of three women. Rebecca, an American, has split up with her fiancé because she is not able to live in Israel. Hanna, an Israeli taxi driver, is going to enforce a debt from her husband's debtor. The debtor's girlfriend is Leila, a Palestinian.
"Motion Pictures are not one, but many genres. There are films poised solely to entertain, others to politicize, and yet others are art.
FREE ZONE is art in a film format. Just as most art, it relies more on senses, feelings, aesthetics, and perceptions. Unfortunately, for the unimaginative and unengaged, it can sometimes be unintelligible.
The film begins with a very long close-up shot of a beautiful young woman (Natalie Portman) copiously crying in the back seat of a car, to the Jewish children's rhyme "Had Gadia". The powerful arrangement in crescendos adds pathos to the girl's exteriorization of heart-felt anguish, and the seamlessly-never-ending stories of increasing consequences and characters (sung in Hebrew but appropriately subtitled) add confusion and exasperation. The sense of utter discomfiture is only compounded by the audience's utmost ignorance of the character, her surroundings, and her motivations. Her despair is our despair, but we, much as she also seems, are lost.
Slowly we learn she is parked by the Kotel, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem. We also learn she has just fought with her would-be mother-in-law and broken off her engagement to her Spanish-Israeli fiancé. Thus her personal loss becomes the middle-eastern mourning, and her very personal suffering symbolizes the tears and hopelessness of whole peoples and an entire land.
Immediately one is faced with a choice. To watch the rest of the movie as a narrative, or to perceive the allegory it propounds. To choose the first is to misunderstand it entirely, and miss on the powerful images and senses.
The film is beautiful and insightful. If you prefer mass produced Hollywoodean one-size-fit-all entertainment, this is not the movie for you.
marcellojun at IMBD