Off-White Lies


Parental irresponsibility is mildly rebuked and finally indulged in Maya Kenig’s Off-White Lies, an intermittently engaging tale of father-and-daughter bonding (and non-bonding) set against the backdrop of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War. When 13-year-old Libi (Elya Inbar) is sent to live with her estranged father, Shaul (Gur Bentvich), in northern Israel, she doesn’t count on his being essentially homeless. This would-be inventor (his signature creation is a device for containing cigarette smoke) takes his daughter on a trip south as the two pose as refugees from the war and seek out shelter in the Jerusalem home of a military man and his wife. The relationship between the two leads is agreeably prickly, the tensions neither overplayed nor underemphasized, even as a certain tenderness begins to develop between them. Complications naturally ensue, most notably due to separate sexual encounters engaged in by father and daughter that bring events to an inevitable climax. But perhaps because of the film’s concern with never overplaying its dramatic hand, the resolution feels too perfunctory and casually judgment free, at once indulging Shaul’s penchant for creating questionable inventions, condoning his lying pose as a refugee, and allowing him a dubious, if modest, reconciliation with his daughter.