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Movies In The Spotlight: Zero Motivation

Zero Motivation (2014)     

אפס ביחסי אנוש

The movie Zero Motivation directed by Talya Lavie, represents Israeli self-deprecating humour with a very black undertone. The Hebrew title means “Zero on interpersonal relations.” You will laugh and cringe at the same time.  This is Israeli-style army life for the female sex—a world of tedium and ambition mixed with the “macho” behaviour of the male soldiers.

“Boredom is a particular challenge for the female soldiers who work in the base’s human resources office, a claustrophobic suite crammed with bodies, desks files and bulky computer monitors” say Manohla Dargis of the New York Times. The desert setting, the barren barracks, the messy desks are authentic, but the emotional responses and physical actions of the men and women are exaggerated and almost cartoon-like. The bloody suicide and the attempted rape are not jokes; but realities of this frustrating and monotonous lifestyle.

There are three main female roles who are fierce, funny and sad, depending on their situation. Think of Private Benjamin meets M*A*S*H*, speaks Hebrew, and keeps kosher. Set in a remote desert military base, a platoon of young women soldiers, serve out their time playing computer games, singing pop songs and conspiring to get transferred to Tel Aviv—while endlessly serving coffee to the men who run the show. Here’s an Israeli film filled with funny quick-witted, zany women who wield their staple guns like automatic weaponry.

In Hebrew with English subtitles.

Reviewed by Dolores Luber

These movies are available free from the Isaac Waldman Jewish Public Library at the JCC.

The Waldman Library encourages you to donate your DVDs, in either NTSC or PAL format. We wish to create a collection of films which is inclusive and comprehensive and we depend on our friends to donate either their DVDs or to make a contribution towards the purchase of more films. Thank you.