Friday, September 07, 2007

The Bubble • הבועה

Life in Tel Aviv is in a bit of a bubble of unreality, disconnected from much of the reality of the unending struggle between the Jews and the Arabs over a little patch of land that both sides consider holy. As The Bubble begins, Noam (Ohad Knoller, Yossi in Fox's earlier film Yossi and Jagger) is on army reserve duty at a checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank. He meets Ashraf (Yousef 'Joe' Sweid), a Palestinian who speaks fluent Hebrew, the result of growing up in the divided city of Jerusalem. The two fall in love, but then must confront a rather severe version of the dilemma of a lover from "the wrong side of the tracks." The film is a poignant slice of the lives of these two star-of-David- and crescent-and-star-crossed lovers. I wasn't a fan of Yossi and Jagger, a story of a romance between two male Israeli soldiers, but I found The Bubble much more satisfying. Highly recommended.

The Bubble is currently screening at the Landmark Embarcadero and Landmark Shattuck Theatres (in S.F. and Berkeley, respectively) and in limited release nationally.

The Bubble (הבועה), dir. Eytan Fox (איתן פוקס), 2006 Israel, 117 min., in English, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.

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  1. I think "the bubble" refers not to all of Tel Aviv, as you imply, but merely to the lives of Noam and his roommates. They're entirely caught up in their soap-operaish personal dramas, and they discuss politics only in the context of a beach-blanket rave they seem to think will bring peace. What's interesting is that Ashraf's presence bursts their bubble only gradually. As we see, he's seduced not only by Noam but by the idea of living in a world where the challenges faced by his people's (and quite specifically, by his family) don't exist -- at least on the surface.

    The director, Eytan Fox, is better known for his previous film, "Walk on Water," but like you (apparently), I haven't seen it yet.

  2. No, "the bubble" refers to all of Tel Aviv, or at least to the whole twentysomething scene of Tel Aviv, not specifically Noam and his friends. I corroborated that point in several publications.

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