For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Foreign Language Film (2013-Present), here’s a review of Princess (2014) by Reut of Sweet Archive.
Thanks again to Jordan of Epileptic Moondancer for choosing this month’s interesting (if not uncomfortable for me) genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Jane of 500 Days of Film She has chosen another genre that is well out of my own comfort zone but I am up for the challenge. We will be reviewing our favorite Horror Films
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Aug by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Jane!
Let’s see what Reut thought of this movie:
I’m not the biggest fan of Israeli films. I am an Israeli… what does this make me, I wonder. I guess it’s that familiar feeling I get, the familiar surroundings, streets, people, places, that I see every day that kind of distances me from also watching it on T.V.
When I looked for a foreign film to watch for GG, I was really debating whether to go with my French or Spanish films, or stick to my own country for once. I’ve never reviewed an Israeli film before, and I have to pat my own back and say I made a great choice.
A 12-year-old girl, Adar, who pushes role-playing games with her stepfather, Michael, into dangerous territory, meets a boy, Alan, who leads her on a dark journey between reality and fantasy. (Via IMDb)
Tali Shalom Ezer, the director, did a great job portraying a distressing issue with delicate transitions between reality and fantasy, using two characters, a boy and a girl, who have an amazing resemblance to each other. You can’t even tell the difference sometimes, which makes it even more unsettling as you’re not the only one being confused. Something to do with the stepfather…
This film is very analyzable. It’s not the easiest to watch. I found myself biting my nails with anger and stress. I think The New York Times sums it up pretty well saying it’s “a loving family home that turns into an incubator of sexual curiosity”.
The acting is excellent, starting with amazing Shira Haas who plays Adar. So young and yet so much talent. Haas is also playing on one of my favorite Israeli series, Shtisel, and I love her there too. She’s a little Natalie Portman with a potential of becoming an even greater actress than she is now. She won the best actress at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 for her role in Princess and most rightly so. Keren Mor who plays Adar’s workaholic, free spirited and somewhat indifferent and clueless mother, is always fantastic as an actress. More is an inseparable part of the Israeli cinema, being one of five most sarcastic figures in the cult & satiric show, Hahamishia Hakamerit, back in the 90’s. On Princess Mor comes across as an irresponsible and careless mother who leaves her unschooled at yet extremely clever child with in the hands of her overly loving partner. She’s very much into herself and pays attention when it suits her. You can’t love her, relate to her in any way. She’s damaging. When an actor makes me feel this way, I know they did a great job. Ori Pfeffer is Michael. I never liked him as an actor, which makes me think they did a good job casting him as the stepfather. Something about him just irritates the hell out of me. He’s good, yes, but annoying. Last but not least, Adar Zohar Hanetz as Alan is quite unknown, but the perfect choice just for looking exactly like Haas. Amazing.
Princess is a highly sensitive film that deals with blurring the boundaries, emotional complexity, and first and foremost, exploited innocence. Child abuse. I get a terrible itch just from writing this down.
IMDb gave Princess a lousy score of 6.2, and I truly think it deserves a LOT more.