"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Aviva My Love by Shemi Zarhin

Aviva My Love אביבה אהובתי , directed by Shemi Zarhin (2006), is an authentic film about poverty and despair in the housing projects of Tiberias, with the backdrop of the beautiful Sea of Galilee.

Aviva is married plus three. Her husband is unemployed; her meddling sister is estranged from her husband; her mother is growing old. Aviva desperately wants to be a writer, but in order to make ends meet, she's working as an assistant chef at a local Tiberias hotel. This is a film about working class women, about family relationships, about taking control of your own life, about love, creativity and frustration, about loyalty and faith in one another.

The relationships between the women in the film are most interesting. The two sisters have a mother-daughter relationship. Aviva is the older, and she tries to take care of her sister, Anita. Anita looks to Aviva for a mother – since their mother is aging and dysfunctional. According to the director, Shemi Zarhin, Anita realizes that she looks to Aviva for a replacement mother, and she’s trying to make it up to her or trying to give her something back by arranging for her to go for writing workshops with a professor at Tel Aviv University. It turns out that the professor hasn't written anything in years and wants to take Aviva's writings and publish them as his own. She'll get money and he'll get the opportunity to have something published again. Aviva agrees. When her teenage daughter finds out, there is a tough scene in which she accuses her mother of being "a prostitute of the soul." Here we see that the mother and daughter have an upside down relationship – instead of the mother giving advice to the daughter, the daughter is the one who shocks Aviva into realizing what she's done, ultimately helping her take hold of her own life.

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