Unorthodox breakout star and Israeli Ophir winner Shira Haas is absolutely flawless in the multiple Israeli Ophir award-winning Asia.
Asia had originally been set to screen last year during the Tribeca Film Festival. Coincidentally, the US release comes during this year’s festival. Audiences in the US now have a chance to watch the film outside of the festival circuit. Asia truly hits all the boxes when it comes to award winners. The film took home nine awards in all but the eight wins by women is the most in Ophir history. With their wins, Daniella Nowitz and Karni Postel became the first female cinematographer and composer to win, respectively. While taking home the Israeli equivalent of the Oscar, the film didn’t make it to the Academy Award shortlist.
Asia (Alena Yiv) is a young woman and motherhood isn’t something she chose. There’s not a large age gap between her and teenage daughter Vika (Shira Haas). One gets the sense that this is intentional on filmmaker Ruthy Pribar’s part. Anyway, the two of them live together but their relationship isn’t the best. Asia is a nurse while Vika hangs out at the skate park. Things take a turn for the worse when Vika’s health goes south. Taking care of her daughter forces Asia to become the mother she needs to be. And in doing so, Pribar gets flawless performances out of her stars.
Ruthy Pribar draws on her own experiences in making this film. Honestly, the best films are those where the filmmakers draw on their experience. It’s because they have something they want to say. Or it becomes a form of catharsis in just putting words to paper and visuals on film. The end result is a celebration of adversity in a relationship between mother and daughter. Behind the scenes, women head up the departments where possible.
Both Shira Haas and Alena Yiv deliver commanding performances in Asia. To say that this film is flawless wouldn’t be an understandment.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Ruthy Pribar
CAST: Shira Haas, Alena Yiv, Tamir Mulla, Gera Sandler, Eden Halili, Or Barak, Nadia Tichonova, Mirna Fridman