Or, My Treasure

100 Minutes, 2004
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Directed by: Keren Yedaya
Cast: Ronit Elkabetz, Dana Ivgy, Meshar Cohen, Katia Zimbris, Shmuel Edelman
Production Company:TransFax Film Productions
Photographer: Laurent Brunet
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Life for 17-year-old Orr is a daily succession of endless jobs, ranging from dishwashing at a restaurant to bottle-collecting and cleaning the stairwell of the building where she lives. When she’s off the clock, Orr still attends school whilst also having to look after her mother, Ruthie, who has now been a prostitute for over two decades. Ruthie’s health is on a downward spiral and when she comes home from her latest hospital stay, Orr gets her a job cleaning houses and decides that from this moment on, everything changes.
Keren Yedaya’s debut film, starring Ronit Elkabetz and Dana Ivgy, won the filmmaker five awards at the Cannes Film Festival with the highlight being the Golden Camera (the prize for Best Debut Film). The film has won countless accolades and awards in Israel and around the world, including the Wolgin Award for Best Israeli Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, as well as the Best Actress Award for the late Ronit Elkabetz. Dana Ivgy would later also go on to win the Ophir Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.
Yedaya, along with her regular collaborator, cinematographer Laurent Brunet, chose not to move the camera at all during filming; a decision that allowed them to assemble a film out of a series of successive, static shots in which the characters are not once either left out of the frame, or cut by its borders. This unique choice, which lends the film much of its cinematic punch, has been read by many as harsh social criticism on Yedaya’s part: “The fragmentation of the body by the borders of the frame symbolises the violent and traumatic rift that is inflicted on Ruth’s and Orr’s bodies” (Dr. Raz Yosef).

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