Zimzum (2002)

Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Igal Bursztyn's The Glow is an odd, offbeat science fiction-melodrama-Israeli political thriller hybrid. These elements don't ever quite come together, but the film's setting and characters make it fairly compelling. Like Joseph Cedar's Time of Favor, which also featured Tinkerbell and Assi Dayan, the film transcends its lapses in credibility largely due to its fascinating exploration of how Israeli life is impacted by history and a kind of necessary paranoia. The men and women in The Glow, particularly the older characters, have obviously led hard lives, and this has toughened them to the point where they seem to have lost a part of their humanity. This is evident in Moti's (Yair Rubin) treatment of his Thai workers, in Brakha's (Rivka Michaeli) harsh and premature dismissal of Mona (Tinkerbell) as a "Barbie," and, most tellingly, in Uriel's (Dayan) refusal to confront the horrific acts he committed as a young man. These strong, prickly characters, along with a lively performance from Tinkerbell, keep the drama interesting. Unfortunately, the supernatural elements of the plot, more overtly symbolic, are less successful. Still, the film is worth watching for its portrait of a world in constant proximity to horrific violence, of the frictions between female strength and patriarchal traditions, and of the effort to acknowledge and move past the ugliness of the past and into a graceful future.