Saint Clara (1996): Israeli Folman and Sivan’s Tale of Eccentric Girl

Ari Folman and Ori Sivan co-directed Saint Clara, a disturbing tale of eccentric Israeli youth, based on Pavel Kohout‘s novel, “The Ideas of Saint Clara.”

Set in 1999 in a small Israeli town, the tale centers on a young girl, around 13, called Clara (Lucy Dubinchik), a strange girl who recently immigrated from Russia.

The first scene is intriguing, a scandal. A whole class of pupils at the Golda Meir School inexplicably get the same top grade at a math test, an unprecedented fact that bewilders the teacher and principal.

It turns out that Clara possesses paranormal powers that allow her to predict the future.

That discovery causes mayhem in the town as its people try to take advantage of Clara’s powers. Indeed, the residents escape the town, when Clara’s psychic powers discovered a leak in a nearby nuclear plant.

In the end, Clara herself has to choose between her powers and her one true love, Eddie (Halil Elohev), who plots rebellious activities. Problem is Eddie’s best friend is also in love with Clara.

The film won 6 Ophir Awards (Israeli Oscars), for best film, directing, best actress, best supporting actor, best editing and best music. It also won the best film award at the Haifa Film Fest.

The film was selected as Israel’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, but was not accepted as a nominee.


Lucy Dubinchik as Clara Chanov
Halil Elohev as Eddie Tikel
Yigal Naor as Headmaster Tissona
Johnny Peterson as Rosy
Maya Maron as Libby

Directed by Ari Folman and Ori Sivan
Produced by Guy Asaf
Written by Ari Folman
Music by Berry Sakharof
Cinematography: Valentin Belonogov
Edited by: Dov Stoyer
Distributed by: Kino International
Release date: November 1, 1996
Running time: 85 minutes