The Arty Semite

Friday Film: Perils of Youth

By Abra Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

What started out as a second year film project at Tel Aviv University turned into a screening at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. “Barbie Blues,” one of four Israeli films at Sundance, was included in the festival’s new Short Films Program this year. First time filmmaker, Adi Kutner, 25, produced the film in three days of shooting in a Tel Aviv suburb on a budget of only $800.

“Barbie Blues,” is a coming-of-age film about a bored teenager, Mika (played by Meyrav Feldman), who finds a mysterious dead bird floating in her backyard pool. The plot focuses on her interaction with a much older neighbor, Gershon. Dvir Benedek, who plays Gershon in the film, is a household name in Israel, best known for his role as Steve Carell’s character in “HaMisrad,” the Israeli version of “The Office.”

Torn between adulthood and childhood, Mika, dressed in a bikini, questions her sexuality and maturity as she pushes boundaries with Gershon. Older, overweight and intrigued by Mika, Gershon struggles with her playfulness and how he should react to it.

The film may be disturbing to some viewers because lines are not only blurred, but also purposefully disregarded. The uncomfortable interchange between Mika and Gershon is similar to that between actors Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari in “American Beauty,” a film that Kutner says influenced the script. Some viewers may see a small resemblance to “Lolita,” in which lines of appropriateness are more definitively crossed.

Kutner said that her goal in the film was to depict the conflict between childhood and adulthood, when the character is torn between two ideals. “She thinks she’s an adult and discovers she is still a child,” Kutner explained.

“Barbie Blues,” which has been well received in Israel, won an award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and was featured at the Rehovot Women’s Film Festival. Kutner spent the last year sending out the film to international festivals outside of Israel, and Sundance was the first to accept it. “It was totally worth the wait,” she said. “Sundance has been an amazing experience and I’m so happy to be part of that family.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sundance, Film, Dvir Benedek, Barbie Blues, Adi Kutner, Abra Cohen

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.