Total Love

Gur Bentwich
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“What have we got here anyway?” Renana (Tinkerbell) asks Haim (Maor Cohen). This is the question that has most defined Israel and Zionism since their vey inception. “What have we got here anyway?” The scene takes place in a typically dilapidated Tel Aviv apartment at the end of the 90s, on the brink of the new millennium. It’s hard not to think to ourselves: How many bedrooms? Where is the apartment located? How high is the property tax? How high was rent back then? The real estate conversation and financial discourse have retroactively seeped into the way in which we view cinema. Total Love’s bohemian and accessible Tel Aviv no longer exists. It’s a Tel Aviv that now seems so distant from the current reality. Afterwards, they travel to Amsterdam and get into trouble in India, all because of a hallucinogenic drug called TLV. Ironically, this is the current nickname for modern-day Tel Aviv, international, of the 2000s, Tel Aviv with its wealth and skyscrapers, herds of tourists, and luxury boutique hotels. In Bentwich’s Total Love, TLV is a title representing liberation, freedom, love. “Worst case scenario, we fall in love,” says the most famous and optimistic sentence in the film. This is not the TLV of “worst case scenario, we’ll make loads of money.” The film ends with a scene on a Tel Aviv rooftop, just like the rooftop in the opening scene in The State of Lettuce. Today, that rooftop houses a penthouse with a jacuzzi.

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