Six Acts: Film Review

A bleak take on the coming-of-age tale that avoids sensationalism.

Jonathan Gurfinkel's first feature watches a teen girl trade her dignity for an illusory sense of belonging.

Plenty of teens do things they'll later regret in order to feel accepted. Jonathan Gurfinkel's Six Acts observes those choices in the moment of their making, drawing out the audience's "don't do it!" response over a sextet of encounters that grow increasingly ugly, especially given the protagonist's failure to use the time between them to change course. Theatrical prospects are slim for the Israeli import, though the picture could find admirers in the long tail of video life.

Sivan Levy plays Gili, an attractive girl who has just moved to a new school in a well-to-do Tel Aviv neighborhood. She's been there long enough to know who she has a crush on -- the aloof Tomer, played by Roy Nik -- but not long enough to understand what a small community she's in or how damaging her misguided attempts to please Tomer will be when word gets out. Turned off by her eagerness, Tomer hands her off to frattish Omri (Eviatar Mor), who wheedles a string of sexual favors from her, films one of them for his peers, and assumes she is now available for any horny buddy he wants to send her way.

Sadly, that's more or less true. Levy projects a kind of willful self-delusion, letting a sliver of intelligence show in eyes that are mostly puppy-doggish in their gratitude for any attention shown to her. We watch as Gili proceeds from heavy petting through an arguable rape to a truly revolting party scene, showing just barely enough reluctance to keep the character believably human.

If any one of the boys on view are plausible embodiments of male entitlement, taken as a whole, they're hard to swallow -- especially as Gurfinkel and screenwriter Rona Segal use that party scene to hint at a more universal indictment of men. Most convincing is Shabat (Niv Zilberberg), who cares for Gili at her lowest moment, sates his lust in a way that clearly seems reasonable to him, and then disgustedly condemns her as soon as he understands how little the event meant.

Production Company: Tazfilm Productions
Cast: Sivan Levy, Eviatar Mor, Roy Nik, Niv Zilberberg
Director: Jonathan Gurfinkel
Screenwriter: Rona Segal
Producers: Udi Yerushalmy, Jonathan Gurfinkel
Director of photography: Shark De Mayo
Production designer/costume designer: Adam Kalderon
Editor: Arik Leibovitch
No rating, 99 min.