Asia (2020): Ruth Pribar’s Israeli Melodrama of Mother and Daughter, Well Acted by Shira Haas (Israel, Women)

In Asia, Israeli writer-director Ruthy Pribar creates a compelling portrait of a family living in crisis, under the perpetual threat of imminent death.

The title character is a nurse, who balances lengthy hours at work with quick sexual encounters with a married colleague in the passenger seat car.

Her daughter, Vika, is living with a degenerative health condition, doomed to soon be losing her motor skills.

Both women are aware that their time together is limited, which puts pressure on both, albeit in different ways.

Asia (Alena Yiv) is torn between her desire to have an independent life, while also being there for her teenage daughter. She wants to let Vika (Shira Haas) enjoy her adolescence, but she’s also deeply concerned.

An early scene shows how illicit drinking, which clashes with her meds, lands her in hospital.

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Pribar’s character-tale story is elevated above the level of a routine and familiar melodrama by the two actresses who play the leads.

Many of the ideas in Asia are familiar to viewers from similar generic tales, but the perspective is gentle and sensitive.

Haas’ Vika wantw to fit in with the drinking and drug-taking of her friends at the local skate park, as well as impressing boys. However, every activity involves danger danger due to her illness.

Vika’s desire to lose her virginity, before it’s too late is, is particularly touching, even when her mother tells her that men don’t have much to offer, which is of course hypocritical.

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The movie’s final scenes bring mother and daughter together in ways that emphasize their intimate bond.

 

 

Credits:

Writer-Director: Ruthy Pribar

Cast: Alena Yiv, Shira Haas, Tamir Mula, Gera Sandler, Eden Halili

Producer: Yoav Roeh, Aurit Zamir

Cinematography: Daniella Nowitz

Music: Karni Postel

Country: Israel

Running time: 85 minutes