By Indrani Kar
Director Oded Davidoff spins the tale with two parallel story lines—one representing Assaf’s journey in present day and the other of Tamar’s journey unfolding from the past, starting two months before her disappearance. This device is extremely effective in creating not only a context for the story, but also gives the characters a depth that makes them come alive. As we follow Assaf through the streets of Jerusalem, we are also told of Tamar’s misadventures on the same paths he follows, a month or two before. All the while, the cinematography is compelling and the soundtrack boomingly contemporary, which includes many genres in many languages, from rock and roll to electronica to Hebrew tunes sung in the streets.
Tamar finds herself in the clutches of a feared drug-dealer who owns a house of “100% art”—a place to which homeless street buskers and musicians like her are tied, simultaneously finding sanctuary and slavery. Pesach, the owner of the squat house, provides shelter and some fodder passing as food in exchange for the residents’ musical talents. What’s later unveiled is he uses his street kids as pawns to distribute every manner of drug in an intricately planned drug ring and often encourages the house denizens themselves to become addicted to the drugs.
The complexity of the story complements the diversity of the characters in the film and Davidoff does a fantastic job of defining the characters in his film as human, multi-faceted and real.