News from the Locarno Festival

Anashim shehem lo ani (People That Are Not Me)

Signs of Life

Anashim shehem lo ani (People That Are Not Me)



Halfway through Anashim shehem lo ani (People That Are Not Me), its lead protagonist, Joy, calls the boy she has been seeing «a little pathetic» for being overly cautious with her. Even though the scenes are disconnected, one can’t help but think back to the film’s perturbing introduction, which pictures the young woman in a pleading posture in front of her webcam, having seemingly lost her pride and begging her ex to stop ignoring her. And as Joy seeks to force her freedom from the heartache by going on rebound dates, with the appropriate level of aloofness, it becomes obvious that she may not be able to maintain the illusion when becoming intimate. Even in brief encounters, sex can be a moment of truth.

First time director Hadas Ben Aroya on the other hand, who both created and embodied the confused character, demonstrates a good deal of assuredness and lucidity. Not exempt from a pleasing sense of irony and absurdity, the 28-year-old filmmaker is aware that her Joy dupes and disappoints herself more than she does “people that are not her”. With seemingly simple yet subtle dialog and cunningly observed situations, often reminiscent of Lena Dunham’s Girls, she also shows a certain fearlessness in the complete and honest provision of her body and image. If Joy struggles to give something real, Hadas Ben Aroya quite unquestionably succeeds in it.


Aurélie Godet

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