This intense Israeli film directed by Keren Yedaya won the 2004 Camera d'or at Cannes for the Best First Feature. It is set in Tel Aviv where 18-year-old Or (Dana Ivgy) lives with her mother Ruthie (Ronit Elkabetz), who has been a prostitute for many years. They have a close but conflicted relationship. Or is a treasure but she is also a very controlling young woman who desperately wants her mother to give up the humiliating and degrading job as a street-walker. She gets Ruthie some work as a cleaning lady and has high hopes that this will convince her to leave prostitution. But her mother just can't get into the rhythm of getting up in the morning and going to a regular job. When Ruthie falls behind on the rent payments for their shabby apartment, she offers the landlord sexual favors, as she has done in the past, but this time he is not interested. He has his eyes on Or instead and knows that it is only a matter of time before he has his way with her.
Or works hard at a restaurant owned by the couple upstairs. In the tiny kitchen she washes dishes while standing back-to-back with the cook. Ido (Meshar Cohen), who also works there, is infatuated with her and after many brief encounters, she spends an evening with him, much to his delight. His mother, Rachel (Katia Zimbris), knows that her son is in over his head with this young woman. She tells Ruthie her feelings and when Or learns about it, she is very hurt and depressed. Meanwhile at school, a concerned counselor tries to reach out to Or but she has other things on her mind than education. A pushy soldier on leave and hungry for sex gets what he wants from her and suddenly this nurturing young woman looks in the mirror and sees herself heading down a road she never thought she'd travel.
Director Keren Yedaya has made a gritty and realistic film about the plight of women who are treated as second-class citizens in a man's world. Despite her noble intentions, Or finds that it is hard to turn another person's life around, no matter how hard you try.
DVD features include a making-of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage from the film, a stills gallery, and trailers for The Overture, Kippur, and Kadosh.