Israel, 2007, 90 minutes
Wed, Apr 30 / 6:30 / PFA / VASE30P
Sun, May 4 / 1:00 / Kabuki / VASE04K
Mon, May 5 / 6:45 / Kabuki / VASE05K
Wed, May 7 / 7:00 / Kabuki / VASE07K
The racial and economic dynamics of Israeli society get a chilly shakedown in this Israeli Mean Streets, a raw, rough-hewn look at the no-future world of three soccer playing, not-so-neighborly teens that came out of nowhere to deservedly win the Special Jury Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival. In a working-class neighborhood of southern Israel’s Beer-Sheva, Shlomi works as a pizza delivery boy and tries to avoid his gangster brother but dreams of playing for the town’s professional soccer team. Ethiopian-Israeli Adiel cares for his young brother and sick mother; he’s also got great athletic skills but prefers to play pick-up games with his Ethiopian friends rather than suffer the constant racist comments of his school teammates. Meanwhile, the sullen Dima, a recent Russian immigrant, deals drugs at raves to make ends meet until he’s forced to become a goalie for the school team. When the three find themselves on the same team, their goals become not only about winning but surviving. No ordinary teens-playing-sports-and-overcoming-adversity movie, Vasermil is more concerned with the rhythms of teenage life and speech, and especially in capturing the lack of hope (and overabundance of stupidity, casual racism and societal indifference) that flavors its characters’ lives. Recalling early Scorsese, the films of Ken Loach and other vibrant urban tales like Rodrigo D: No Future, the film gains its knife-like documentary edge through the crew’s connection to the area: the director grew up in the town and drew his nonprofessional cast from kids who “play” not-so-fictional versions of themselves.
In Russian, Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles. Presented with support from the Consulate General of Israel, San Francisco and in association with the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. New Directors Prize contender. U.S. Premiere.