Rating: (4 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!] Sunday, 10/19/2008, 9:00 PM Feature presentation, $10 at 6th & I Synagogue Hebrew with English subtitles
HOW IN THE WORLD can a movie that starts with so many hot sex scenes be called Antarctica? It seems like a huge contradiction. Well, that’s just the start of a lot of head scratching writer-director Yair Hochner’s film will cause. While it takes more than half the film to really make sense, once the light bulb goes off, all you’ll want to do is watch it all over again.
Reminiscent of Grand Canyon, Antarctica combines the stories of a group of people whose lives intersect repeatedly. It’s a mishmash of relationships that almost requires a flowchart. The commonality is either family or sex — and there’s lots of the latter. Omer (Tomer Ilan) and Shirley (Lucy Dubinchik) are gay siblings in Tel Aviv; Omer is looking for love and Shirley is trying to decide if the love she has found is right. Around them, their friends, lovers, and roommates are all dealing with the same vexing questions. Just for good measure, Hochner tosses in subplots about serial killers and alien abductions. Start the head scratching.
The cast give strong performances. Ofer Regirer and Yiftach Mizrahi are particularly striking, one as the ”new man every night guy” and the other as the ”new man out at night guy.” Ilan does a fine job as Omer, and his chemistry with Guy Zo-Artez as a potential love interest is great fun. The weakest performance hails from Noam Huberman, who plays Omer and Shirley’s mother as well as a man who keeps visiting Omer at his job. All the make-up in the world doesn’t cover up this blemish.
Antarctica is about the great, unexplored territory that exists outside our lives and what awaits us if we’re willing to explore. It’s hot, engaging, more than a little bit odd, and very much worth exploring for yourself.
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