Vasermil Mushon Salmona

Vasermil Mushon Salmona
Thanks to the post-war Italians, to this day, filmmakers all over the world, particularly in countries dealing with conflict, are inspired to pick up whatever equipment they can get, with whomever they can find and shoot their movie. Never a nation known for lavish cinema, Israel in particular has embraced serious social drama, shooting as it comes on its often barren, wide-open landscapes. Vasermil (the debut, and so far only, film from director Mushon Salmona) takes place in Tel-Aviv, bringing together three teenagers from different backgrounds whose lives become intertwined. Schlomi (Nadir Eldad), a pizza delivery driver, has his scooter stolen by Dima (David Taplitzky), a Russian immigrant and small-time drug dealer. Later, when the abandoned scooter is found by Adiel (Adiel Zamro), an Ethiopian immigrant who feasts upon the leftover pizza, a vengeful Schlomi kicks the living snot out of Adiel and his brother, mistaking them as thieves. Working with a cast of amateurs, Salmona manages to get smart, nuanced performances from his cast while exploring issues of class, racism, religion and social justice. As the three become involved with the school's soccer team in order to stay out of trouble, the film gets a little lost in sports clichés, but keeps its head for a strong, if somewhat tragic, finish. Vasermil is part of the Film Movement series, a DVD subscription service that handpicks overlooked gems of world cinema and issues a single DVD a month to canny subscribers. One of the hallmarks of Film Movement is generously packaging its features with accompanying shorts, replicating the film festival experience. Here, the bonus short is Transparent Black by Roni Geffen, an instantly intriguing semi-documentary piece that examines the frustrations of a group of African immigrants when confronted with the fact that their immigration status in Israel is, at best, tentative. A well-shot and realistic slice-of-life, Transparent Black may not have been afforded the time to deal with its complex issues, but its open-ended narrative refuses simple answers. (Film Movement)