Sheldon Kirshner

Moon In The 12th House — A Spare Israeli Film

Two estranged sisters strive to reconcile in Dorit Hakim’s spare and moody movie, Moon in the 12th House, which is now available on the ChaiFlicks streaming platform.

It unfolds over several weeks at two locales in Israel — a nightclub in Tel Aviv and a pastoral moshav.

Lenny (Yaara Pelzig) has become her father’s primary caregiver since his stroke. When she informs Mira (Yuval Scharf Shaban), her sister, that he’s in a hospital, she appears indifferent.

They have not seen each other in a long while, and they lead completely different and separate lives. Lenny lives in a nice house in an affluent rural settlement and drives her father’s Mercedes sedan. Mira is a hostess in a nightclub owned by her boyfriend, Doron (Gal Toren), a wheeler dealer who’s also a drug dealer. Mira’s relationship with Doron has become problematic since he urged her to terminate her pregnancy.

At Lenny’s invitation, Mira visits the moshav, where she was raised. It’s unclear why they’re at loggerheads, but Mira admits there were problems. “Things didn’t work out,” she says without elaborating.

Many days pass before Mira finally agrees to see her ailing father (Avraham Horovitz), who can no longer speak. In the meantime, she tries to rearrange the decor in the house, suggests that the property be sold, and lashes out at her late mother.

Hakim skims over the surface of Lenny’s tense relations with Mira, not even attempting to fill in its blanks. There are flashbacks of their youth, but they are not illuminating.

In a sub-plot, Lenny spends time with Ben (Gefen Barkai), a neighbor about a decade younger who resents his self-absorbed mother, an artist who is travelling in Japan. As the film progresses, Lenny’s relationship with Ben grows less platonic, much to Mira’s disapproval.

Mira helps Lenny dress for a date, which turns out to be unsuccessful. Lenny blames Mira for its outcome and asks her to leave the house. “You were always ungrateful,” explodes Mira in exasperation.

Although the sisters are not getting along, there is reason to believe they will not be separated again so easily.

Moon in the 12th House becomes increasingly complex as it draws to a close. The actresses who portray Lenny and Mira excel in this complicated environment and endow the film with its palpable mood and depth.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,
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