Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Princess 2014

Directed by Tali Shalom Ezer

This provocative first film by a young Israeli filmmaker shows us the dislocated world of a young girl reaching puberty in the hothouse atmosphere of her mother’s intense sexual relationship with a younger man.

Israel In Hebrew with English subtitles
92 minutes DCP
R18 (sex scenes, sexual violence)

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Elad Gavish
,
Moshe Edery
,
Leon Edery

Photography

Radek Ładczuk

Editor

Neta Dvorkis

Production designer

Dror Elhadad

Costume designer

Tal Mer

Music

Ishai Adar

With

Keren Mor (Alma)
,
Shira Haas (Adar)
,
Ori Pfeffer (Michael)
,
Adar Zohar Hanetz (Alan)

Festivals

Sundance 2015

Elsewhere

A controversial national award winner in Israel, writer/director Tali Shalom Ezer’s distinct and original debut is a troubling film in any context. Adar, an androgynous 12-year-old girl (played by 16-year-old Shira Haas), lives in a small apartment in intimate proximity with her mother, Alma, and her young stepfather, Michael. She is acutely aware of their vigorous sexual relationship. While Alma is at work, Adar’s joshing relationship with the unemployed Michael becomes increasingly weird, involving knockabout games in which he casts her in a male role. She begins to search for help outside, and finds it in a new friendship with Alan, a waifish boy who seems startlingly like her, if more seasoned in his alienation. The two invent their own funhouse of sexualised identity play, but Alan can be elusive, less available than the imaginary friend the film hints he might be. Their enigmatic closeness only racks up the interest of the appalling Michael, while Adar’s besotted mother proves disastrously negligent.

Shocking, for sure, Princess is crafted with disarming sophistication, and portrays the girl’s evolving psychological defences with admiration and dismay.