The depth of talent in “Little Israel“ never ceases to amaze me. This year my top picks for both Best Actor (Roy Assaf of God’s Neighbors) and Best Actress (Asia Naifeld of Room 514) are starring in lead roles for the very first time…
My Best Actress pick for 2013 is Asia Naifeld, making her feature film debut as “Anna” in Room 514. Weeks short of her military discharge, Anna hears rumors of a troubling incident on the West Bank. Despite warnings from her superiors, Anna continues her probe until she finally gets answers that no one wants to hear.
Sharon Bar-Ziv, making his debut film as writer/director, uses every single penny in his tiny purse to make a tense film with great nuance anchored by Naifeld’s superb performance. When Room 514 was over, I realized was literally shaking.
Click HERE to learn more about filmmaker Sharon Bar-Ziv.
NOTE: When Anna’s mother calls her on the telephone, they don’t speak Hebrew; their conversations are in Russian. This clue–that Anna is an Olah Chadeshah (a new immigrant to Israel) from the former Soviet Union–provides essential information about her character.
As I have pointed out in previous posts, one must listen very carefully to Israeli films. Critical clues are often to be found in the multiple languages that the characters speak, but Israeli directors typically take this for granted. (After all, Israeli audiences always know when a character is speaking something other than Hebrew, so why shouldn’t the rest of us?)
Me, I think Israeli directors should always mark non-Hebrew dialogue for their non-Israeli audiences, but so far, they rarely do 🙁
Photo Credits: Sharon Bar-Ziv.