In Tel Aviv, the gloomy Ezra hires foreign workers without permits to build an addition to a homely block of flats where his ex-wife Mali lives with her current lover Ilan. Ezra and Mali's young son Eyal hates the army and is AWOL, living among prostitutes and drug dealers. Gabi, a beautiful young woman who's a friend of Mali's, is carrying on an affair with Hezi, an older man insisting on secrecy. Hezi rents an apartment at the building for their trysts. Neighbors complain about the noise of their lovemaking and of the construction. Lives revolve slowly one around another. "Everyone's out for himself," says Ezra of Israeli society. Suicide bombings and elections provide a backdrop.Written by
Opening credits are spoken by director Amos Gitai. See more »
Love, hate and petty squabbling in contemporary Israel
Inevitably perhaps for a contemporary Israeli film, the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians looms over the lives of Alila's protagonists: in the film's opening scene, one of the main characters - a man of 18 or 19 - is on his way to an army barracks; several times during the film we overhear reports of suicide attacks on a radio in the background. But for most of the film, we're more occupied with the personal lives of the protagonists, whose problems (why do I keep seeing this person? why doesn't my ex-spouse just leave me alone?) are more universal.
And, on the whole, these people's lives keep us reasonably well entertained for 2 hours. They're an interesting enough bunch and the cast is consistently strong. But for me, the film is ultimately let down by its script: the dialogues are flat at times, the protagonists rarely get the chance to show more than one side of their character, and - despite showing us all manner of human folly - the tone is a bit heavy side. A film worth seeing, but no masterpiece.
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