This brooding Israeli drama begins with a provocative title card that insists that "the resemblance between this film and real life is by no means coincidental." This is referring to the 1977–78 Israeli scourge of the "polite rapist" (ha-anas ha-menumas), a historical trauma re-experienced by two middle-age women as they meet accidentally during a rout of olive-grove Palestinians by the Israeli army. Nira (Jenya Dodina) is a TV editor and single mom; Lily (Ronit Elkabetz) is a pro-Palestine activist and maritally troubled mother of teenagers. Both women were raped decades earlier by the same man, in a case the authorities would rather not have dug up, but Nira is compelled to disinter the facts, and gradually, the women form a bond. Earnest and blessed with immediate visual textures, Aviad's film is nevertheless much more a matter of feelings—shared or suppressed and then shared—than of story. It is hardly eventful, relying instead on the two regal leads (already an international-fest star, Elkabetz might have the most seductively dramatic face in movies today) and the somewhat slippery parallel between the rapist's storied gentleness and Israel's lip service toward treating the Palestinians fairly as the settlements roll on. Michael Atkinson
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