Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yana's Friends


Ha-Chaverim Shel Yana; Drama, Israel, 1999; D: Arik Kaplun, S: Evelyn Kaplun, Nir Levy, Shmil Ben Ari, Mosko Alkalai

Tel Aviv, '91. The Gulf war is at full swing and Yana, and her lover Fim have left Moscow to settle down in Tel Aviv. Since they are immigrants, they get financial backup from the government. But Fim takes the money and runs away back to Moscow, leaving Yana behind. Yana doesn't know Hebrew very well, but she makes friends with Eli, a guy who likes to film everything with his camera. In the building there are a lot of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and one man called Alik is leaving Isaac, his father in a wheelchair, outside on the street, hoping people will give him money. Yana makes an abortion and starts a romantic relationship with Eli. During their passionate night Iraq is bombarding the town. Rosa, the landlord, discovers Isaac is her long lost lover.

Despite 10 awards from the Israel film Academy, among others for the best film, "Yana's Fiends" is only a sufficient gentle drama with too much empty elements and a mild rhythm. The story itself is interesting since it's playing during the Gulf war and Evelyn Kaplun is very good as a Jewish immigrant from Moscow, but as a whole the realisation of this idea doesn't have much that keeps your attention. The only sequence that deserves to be called genius is the one in which Yana and Eli are in bed, having intercourse with gas masks while Iraq is bombarding their town. All other moments are nice at best, like the one where Alik accidentally leaves his father in a wheelchair on the street, and when he returns he finds out his hat is full of money. "Yana's Friends" is a solid, at parts boring drama, but with nice intentions.

Grade:+

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