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A midlife marriage in a suburban high-rise takes a bizarre twist in a sexual game among the tenants.
At her new apartment in a complex of generic residential towers, the film's protagonist Rona cannot avoid a sense of endless mediocrity. Moving to the suburbs symbolizes the loss of desire or any aspiration for change, and as her career has also hit a turning point, tension rises in her married life with Adam. Rona is an archeologist on Sabbatical. She's "stuck" in the building most of the time, writing research and avoiding contact with others. Then she meets Vered, her neighbor from across the hall, and the two women soon become close. Vered intrigues Rona, exposing her to another side of life in the building. Rona gets a glimpse of the bubbling underworld in the new place, but nothing prepares her for the moment when Vered's husband Stephan seduces her into passionate sex on the kitchen island while her kids are next door. Rona is reawakened to a new dawn of sexual desire, but only when it happens again, this time with another neighbor's husband, does Rona realize that this is no coincidence, but a pattern. Rona soon understands that it's now her turn to send her own husband to play the "game", and she and Adam hit a communication breakdown. At first Rona thinks she can manage the situation, but Adam decides to put up a Chinese Wall regarding his encounters. Rona tries to regain control by breaking the rules. But after everything that's happened, will it be possible to bring the trust and passion back into their own home and relationship?
Between the kitchen – the traditional arena of the battle between the sexes – and the living room, there is only an island. This is where I've decided to situate passion. A drama that holds a dark humoristic tone, ISLAND is a cinematic attempt to decode the existential time bomb that hides inside the bourgeois relationship's belly. Rona's long-hibernating libido is awakened at the most unaccepted of all places, causing her to doubt everything – as happens to many women after long years spent in relationships and caring for children. But perhaps the rocking of her foundations and the loss of control will allow her to succumb to the dark side of her passion for once, to accept herself as she is and to demand what she needs from the primary sexual and romantic relationship in her life. When reality and fantasy come together, Rona musters the courage in her relationship with Adam, allowing herself to let him in and to deepen the level of dialogue. This is when the film opens to Adam's point of view and becomes a story of two, exploring alternative communication through sex and fantasies. Using the dramatic scenery of dense buildings, I attempt to create a complex and moving cinematic expression. In my film the building becomes a live entity, with a weird undertone, an uncanny object with the power to swallow the characters. I aim for a wry humoristic tone, arising from the situations and the juxtaposing of scenes. The low green suburban landscapes in which I grew up are continuously being eradicated and replaced by the residential complexes that are Israel in 2021. Part child, part married woman and a mother, I reflect upon family life, as I insist on deciphering the code to a relationship that can contain complexity, contradictions, and risks.
Elinor Nechemya is a director and writer based in Tel-Aviv. Her latest short film IF IT AIN'T BROKE (2021) premiered at La Semaine de la Critique of Festival de Cannes. Her previous short films OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR (2020) and EVERLASTING MOM (2017) both premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and have been screened, along with her other short films (six overall) at internationally acclaimed festivals such as Locarno, Sarajevo, and Palm Springs. An alumna of the Berlinale Script Station and the Locarno Filmmakers Academy, Nechemya is currently working on her debut feature, ISLAND, featured in the 2021 Sam Spiegel International Film Lab and developed with the support of the Israeli Film Fund and The New Fund for Cinema and Television (NFCT). The project participated at the 2021 Festival de Cannes Focus COPRO' pitching program.
Ronen Ben Tal is a film producer and a musician. In 2009 he established Plan B Productions Ltd. to produce fiction and documentary films with filmmakers who have a significant inner voice, a unique cinematic perspective and an exciting story to tell. He has worked with filmmakers such as Avishai Sivan, Dan Setton, Maor Zaguri, Eytan Fox, Haim Tabakman, Michal Aviad, to name a few. Ronen was the founder and former owner of DB studios, Israel's leading sound post production and music facility for films and television. Ronen is a song-writer and lead singer of the alternative rock band "Ur Kasdim", which he formed back in the 80s. The band performs to this day
Production company profile
Bental productions Ltd. is intent on creating fiction and documentary films with filmmakers who have a significant inner voice, a unique cinematic perspective and an exciting story to tell. Film credits include Tikkun by Avishai Sivan (Grand Jury Award Silver Leopard Locarno 2015), His Death by Avishai Sivan (Best Film Jerusalem FF 2020), Invisible by Michal Aviad (Ecumical Jury Award Panorama Berlinale 2011), The Bubble by Eytan Fox.
Bental productions Ltd. Tel Aviv, Israel
$14,000 Israel Film Fund, The New Fund for Cinema and Television