Zohara has been waiting to go home ever since she was first stationed at a distant military base, but when the day arrives her hopes evaporate. The soldier sent to replace her appears to be suicidal. Instead of leaving, Zohara is ordered to guard the new girl. In Hebrew.
Director's Statement Collapse
I have seen many army films, and I always dreamed of making my own personal one, which would focus on minor female mail clerks who are virtually redundant and hardly adapted to the system. Playing by rules enforced upon them, and engaged in their own private wars, they are completely detached from the real war raging outside. It should be noted that the film was shot, in a rare opportunity, on a high-security combat air force base. This serves to widen the gap between the problems with which these soldiers are preoccupied and the reality in Israel, while also adding authenticity. Production involved a meticulous attention to detail such as military apparel, setting, daily proceedings, and IDF jargon. The subtitling was a tricky project due to the abundance of Israeli military terms and slang, so we were assisted by a few translators and advisors. But the film is not "about" the army. Rather, the army setting serves as an exemplar in which all narrative turns are a result of the characters being trapped in a paralyzing system. In the forefront we find young women whose internal relationships are dictated by military hierarchy and are thus put to the test of being able to transcend their restrictive system as well as their own frame of character. We shot the film at the actual base where I was posted during my military service for two years. The desert inspired me: I think it possesses a rare combination of ugliness and beauty, abysmal loneliness and divine presence.
About the Director(s)Collapse
The Substitute is the M.F.A. thesis project of Israeli-born filmmaker Talya Lavie. Prior to earning her graduate degree at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2005, Lavie studied animation at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design. Her previous short film, Sliding Flora (2003), played at over thirty festivals worldwide (including the Berlinale), won seven international prizes, and received a screening at the Museum of Modern Art.