This modern-day fable, set in Tel-Aviv, explores the lives of three different women. Batya (Adler), a catering waitress, struggles with an aimless post-breakup existence until a strange young girl literally emerges from the sea and into her life. Joy (De Latorre) is a Filipina caregiver who speaks little Hebrew, but somehow forms a bond with her elderly charge as she tries to earn enough money to return home to her children. Finally, there's Keren (Knoller), a bride whose nuptials (and romantic Caribbean honeymoon plans) are ruined when she finds herself locked in a bathroom stall — and things only go downhill from there. Could this bad luck be a preview of what awaits her in marriage?
While so many films from Israel focus on the political and religious conflicts in the region, this whimsical secular fantasy reminds us that individual human stories happen there as well. The screenplay, co-written by directors (and spouses) Keret and Geffen balances a keenly observed sense of mundane, everyday life with more surreal, unexpected touches; in their hands, Tel Aviv becomes a wondrous space where almost anything might happen. (Its vibrant, colorful cinematography helps.) Winner of the Camera d'Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes, this warm, winning film doesn't shy away from themes of pain and heartbreak, but suffuses its quirky proceedings with a reassuring sense of hope, humor and possibility.