Close to Home
Directed by Vidi Bilu and Dalia Hager IFC First Take
Opens February 16 Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center
With at least the virtue of novelty on its side, Vidi Bilu and Dalia Hager's debut outing as writer-directors tackles the claustrophobic world of Israeli women soldiers who work out their mandatory military service patrolling the streets and buses of Jerusalem, a job as tedious as it is dangerous. Nothing if not detailed, Close to Home follows two conscripts still in their teens (one a born conformist, the other an instinctive rebel) as they write up Arab passersby, goof off for falafels, protect one another from scary female officers, and go home to Mom and Dad. Though it clearly means to call into question the legitimacy of their work, the movie is formlessly episodic as it meanders from one day to the next, finally losing itself in a forest of coming-of-age clichés.