Obsession רסיסי אהבה directed by Nissim Notrika (Israel, 2011) opened this week in Israeli movie theaters. Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1968 in a Sephardi Jerusalem neighborhood. The film opens with a woman talking as if from the grave – "To all my children, make me a beautiful grave, don't grieve for me, but make me a small headstone because I never had anything beautiful – not beautiful clothes or furniture or apartment. I never had a happy life."
This is the story of Malka who has no happiness in her life. She is married to a charismatic and good looking man who not only is unable to earn enough to support his family, he plays cards, drinks, and has a regular mistress on the side. All of the humiliation notwithstanding, Malka struggles to keep their home normal and to save their marriage. They have four children -- their oldest son is in the army, their teenage daughter lives on a kibbutz, the next son is about to be bar mitzvahed, and the youngest, Micha, doesn't speak but he is the observer in the film – he witnesses everything.
This is a great ethnic tale and an authentic period piece, portraying interesting Sephardi characters. The main character's mother is always cursing in Arabic and her sister takes her to a woman who offers a form of witchcraft – providing her with love potions in order to make her husband more attracted to her.
Watching the film, I couldn't help feeling that the 1960s seem so long ago with the ethnicity, the chauvinism and the superstition which filled the characters' lives during that period.