4/10 | 12.Jun.12
Ha-Buah | הבועה | The Bubble
DIRECTOR: Eytan Fox | WRITERS: Gal Uchovsky, Eytan Fox | CAST: Ohad Knoller, Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid, Daniella Wircer, Alon Freidmann, Zohar Liba, Tzion Baruch | Israel
The Bubble plays for the most part as a light, wish fulfillment romance with complications, but near the end it takes a disastrous and grotesquely offensive turn that destroyed almost all of the good will I sort of felt toward it. Three twenty-somethings — a straight woman and her two gay pals — share an absolutely enormous three-bedroom apartment with roof deck access and view a few blocks from the luxury apartment buildings and hotels on the beach in Tel Aviv. I’m not familiar with the Israeli rental market, but I found it hard to believe that three people with marginal jobs — she’s a clerk in a cosmetics boutique while the boys are manager of an Italian café and clerk at a CD store — could afford such swanky digs. But OK, I was willing to suspend my disbelief. It strained my credulity further that not only would the record store clerk while on the last day of his annual military service spent at a border crossing fall in love at first sight with a young Palestinian man traveling into Israel from Nablus, but that the Palestinian would have 1) retrieved the wallet that the clerk dropped at the border (funny how neither he nor we noticed that he’d dropped it), 2) tracked him down that very day to the apartment he shares with the Maybelline saleslady and the pasta slinger, and 3) moved in with them that same night. I suppose it’s possible for all that to happen, but give me a break.
The rest of the movie follows Noam and Ashraf’s romance, which is complicated by Ashraf’s lack of residency papers and his family back home (his brother-in-law-to-be is sort of a big cheese in Hamas), along with Lulu’s romantic involvement with the boorish editor of Time Out Tel Aviv and the pizza queen’s with the butch lunkhead (Zohar Liba: remember the name) who’s besotted with him. The only character who is at all interesting is Ashraf, the Palestinian, and that may well be due to the fact that the actor who plays him, Yousef Sweid, is the only actor on screen who can actually, you know, act. What Eytan Fox does with the character of Ashraf makes no psychological sense whatsoever and is an outrageous and racist insult. +1 for the unfussy naturalness of the film’s depiction of gay sexuality and another +2 for Yousef Sweid’s performance.