Film School Spotlight: Tel Aviv University

Film School Spotlight: Tel Aviv University
Even though the idea of watching a collection of shorts from the politically-charged Tel Aviv University sounds slightly less compelling than enduring a Beachcombers marathon, this grouping of films actually demonstrates quite a bit of filmmaking talent, even if the didactics are occasionally a little heavy-handed.

First up, Roads sets a grave tone for the program, traversing the streets of Lod – an Arab city in Israel – where a 13-year-old drug dealer winds up pissing off a crime lord and turning to a Jewish ex-soldier for help. Despite wearing its politics on its sleeve, this short is quite well shot, featuring solid action and cinematography.

Fortunately, the next film, One From Afar, is more universal, detailing the awkward moments and conversation between an estranged mother and daughter while the mother prepares for a double mastectomy. The passive-aggressive commentary and deliberate avoidance of the subject at hand give this short a subtle charm, which is something that Transparent Black is seriously lacking, diving into the topic of refugee rights in a Hebrew classroom.

Second Watch initially seems like a chore to view, featuring an Israeli soldier and Jordanian soldier tasked to watch each other along the border, but actually proves to be quite amusing and clever, showing the universality of basic human hormones and the connecting power of bare boobies.

Also tackling the subject of fleeting connectivity is Silence, wherein a young girl tasked with adult responsibilities develops an unlikely friendship with a man that allows her to be a child. Of course, life is often about disappointments and unseemly worldly knowledge, which come to a head when the girl sees her new friend in a provocative light.