Zero Motivation (2014): Talia Lavie’s Military Satire (Israel; Women in Film)

Zero Motivation, the winner of the Best Narrative Award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, is a sharply observed, darkly humorous portrait of everyday life for a unit of young female soldiers in a remote Israeli desert outpost.

Talya Lavie’s  striking directing debut details the power struggles of three women with different agendas and plenty of time. Pencil-pushers in the Human Resources Office, best friends Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and Daffi (Nelly Tagar) spend their time playing video games, singing pop songs, jousting with stationery and dreaming of Tel Aviv.

The indolent twosome are watched over by their aspiring senior officer, Rama (Shani Klein), who dreams of a higher position and a more significant military career, but with a platoon of unskilled, idle, female soldiers without any drive under her charge, her ambitions for promotion are constantly thwarted.

Replete with unexpected twists and turns, and with smooth shifts of tone that go from slapstick to satire, “Zero Motivation” contains droll and vicious moments thta evoke such classic American comedies as M.A.S.H. and “Office Workers.”