Self Made [Boreg] Israel DEBATE Section
It all begins with a broken bed. Two women are linked to this event. One is a famous conceptual artist and the other works in a factory. Shira Geffen‘s dramatic, surreal film links an Israeli woman, Mihal played by Sarah Adler to a Palestinian factory worker, Nadine played by Samira Saraya. When the bed breaks, Mihal orders a new flat-pack bed from the Israeli equivalent of IKEA (the factory is called EHACA). Struggling to put the bed together, Mihal finds she has a screw missing. Possibly on account of the knock to her head when the bed broke, she appears to have a “screw loose” to use a very un-technical term. She seems to have forgotten her husband is going away, she cannot seem to figure out how the coffee machine works, she appears at times even to have forgotten her name, or the fact that she is exhibiting in the Biennale and a German crew is coming to interview her.
Meanwhile, back at EHACA, Nadine also seems to have orientation problems. Exacerbated possibly by the long queues at the check-points. She lives with her mother and brother, both of whom are aware that she is not quite ordinary; but it is Mihal’s complaint about the missing screw that causes Nadine to be sacked from her job. This seems not to have affected Nadine’s programme as she continues to brave the check-point every day.
This is a provocative, puzzling film and it will take a while to process. There are so many elements to absorb, and since everything is not quite as it seems and there is no resolution one is left wondering whether, and how much of the essential elements of the film – the fractured sensibilities of the two women, the vibrant colours – mostly yellow and blue, and occasionally red, the oblique camera work are a metaphor for the political situation. It hard to see how they could not be. There is so much that is not clear, so much that you see from a strange angle and so many irreconcilable inconsistencies, one is reminded of the Rumsfield dictum of known unknowns etc.