I had the opportunity to see Three Mothers (2006) again, last night, and I was struck by how rich the film is with music, color and design. It is a film about sisterly love and devotion that becomes bitter over the years due to betrayal, jealousy and pain. It is a complex story, based on the personal story of the director, a story of three strong-willed women, a film mixed with historical sweep – from life in Alexandria, to the Six Day War, to the visit of Sadat to Jerusalem. This is a film of stunningly rich detail, complicated, in-depth characters, a film about family.
The title refers to triplets, 3 sisters born in 1942 Alexandria. They are dedicated to one another, determined to help each other no matter what. The film takes place in modern Israel, when the sisters are aging and recalling the stories and memories of their lives together -- as young women, enjoying life, marrying and having children.
Rose (Gila Almagor) was a successful nightclub singer 30 years ago (played by Miri Mesika). She is the most outgoing of the three and certainly the most beautiful. Flora was a midwife, as was their mother in the palace of the king in Alexandria, so many years ago. Yasmin was the most self-sacrificing of the three, which led to her making a decision to give away one of her twins to her sister, Flora – a decision which created turmoil in all of their lives.
When Rose was a successful singer, she cheated on her husband. Not only was he was jealous of her cheating, but he was jealous of her symbiotic relationship with her sisters. When he reported to the police the fact that Yasmin had given away one of her twins to Flora, he was able to punish them all, and at the same time, he was able to get back at his wife for her betrayal.
At the end, the sisters must band together to raise the money to take their sister, Yasmin, to Alexandria for a kidney transplant, where they can also return to their roots, in some symbolic way.