Welcome to the Israeli "bureka", a low-budget film intended solely for the home market but they make their way to North America via Jewish Film Festivals. This is not a film to make a "simcha" about. The burerka film, like its puff pastry counterpart, is usually airy in content and filled with clichés about immigrants, cheap apartments, etc. In Ein La Elohim, the main clichés are that all Russians are blonde, ex-KGB and only half-Jewish and Moroccans are the closest thing to Mafiosi in the Jewish world. There may be more I clichés didn't get but I don't live in Israel and my Hebrew is as abysmally awful as this movie.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm a true fan of Israel's dramatic film industry. For a small country, they produce a gem of a film almost every year. Furthermore, the Israeli film industry isn't afraid to portray the "other" side of Israeli life and culture. You'll never see a "boy meets tractor" propaganda play from Israel. I wish I could say the same about the idealistic documentaries that have come out the country but that's another story. The cinema verité part of this film consists of a sweatshop run by corrupt managers that has a loan for equipment that mysteriously disappears. The seamstresses are out of work but try and take over the factory, unsuccessfully. There's a parallel plot by the husbands and boyfriends of the seamstresses to rob the armoured truck that carries dirty casino money from Eilat to Tel Aviv. The seamstresses discover the guys' plot and hijack the money to start a new sweatshop that they will run in an honest manner. Lots of unfunny twists occur in the plot and the two sets of plotters end up with only a million shekels instead of the five million they set out to steal. That's the film's way of saying that crime doesn't pay - NOT.
I have several problems with the premises of Ein La Elohim. I visited Eilat four years ago and, yes, it's a desert playground for Israelis but I never saw one casino, honest or criminal. There was a lot of material stuck under my car's windshield wipers inviting me to engage the services of various escorts but nothing inviting me to gamble away my hard-earned NIS. Maybe Eilat has changed in four years but I doubt it. If you're going to show the seamy side of your country, show something real and expose the problem. The other problem I have is with the moral ambiguity of this film in that the theft is diminished in size but not condemned. There must be better ways of getting back at the boss than by plotting a heist of money belonging to other individuals of dubious scruples. I know that ben Gurion said that Israel would become a nation when they developed Jewish criminals. It isn't necessary to demonstrate that Israel may be a superpower of the criminal world.
One other comment concerns the English title of the film, "She's Got It". I can't fathom what this translation of the title has to do with the film. The export Hebrew Title (she has no gods) conveys far better the moral dilemma. The working title Elohim shel Malka (Malka's gods) is just as descriptive. The subtitles I'm disappointed and I give Ein La Elohim a three out of ten.
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