52 Minutes, 1984
Student Film
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Directed by: Michele Ohayon
Production:Michele Ohayon
Production Company:Department of Film and Television, TAU
Photographer: Avi Karpick, Yoram Milo
Languages: Hebrew, Arabic
| Subtitles not available

Yoma is off to see her boyfriend, Raif, in his village in the Occupied Territories. They head back to her flat in Jerusalem and in the morning, an Israeli Secret Service team comes charging in, looking for Raif. After he’s arrested, Yoma attempts to locate him. However, her friends at the university’s student left wing society tell her it can’t be done; her university professor is not even sure Raif is innocent, whilst Yoma’s father is resentful of the very fact his daughter is seeing an Arab. The only one who seems willing to give her the time of day is one Secret Service agent. The latter is convinced that Raif has ties to terrorism and is determined to get Yoma on board with helping them. A little while before director, Michèle Ohayon’s Hollywood career began to take off, she directed Pressure as part of her degree course at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies. And whilst at times, the directing is a bit rough around the edges, the film is not without its interesting aspects: the uncompromisingly direct script that takes on the relationship between a Jewish woman and Palestinian man; the ability to capture and portray Israeli university campuses’ political zeitgeist of the 1980s but primarily, the far from implicit presence of Israeli security services in everyday civilian life. One is unlikely to find many, if any other films of that time that tackled any of these issues. The plot explores a range of conflicts that remain ever-pertinent, and the discussion of those risks venturing into superficial platitude territory – both in and out of the film – however, memorable performances by Orly Silbersatz and mainly, the great Nissim Zohar add an additional, quality layer of human complexity to the film.

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