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M*A*S*H meets Lena Dunham’s Girls in Talya Lavie’s sharply observed first time feature film Zero Motivation. Having smashed box office records in its home country of Israel, Lavie’s film has also received praise from critics globally, winning the prestigious Best Narrative Feature Award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
In Zero Motivation Lavie presents an army story with a difference. At a remote and dysfunctional military base deep in the Israeli desert, the female clerical staff are at the centre of the action. Best friends Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and Daffi (Nelly Tagar) spend their time playing video games, singing pop songs, jousting with stationery and dreaming of Tel Aviv. The indolent twosome are watched over by their aspiring senior officer, Rama (Shani Klein), who dreams of a higher position and a significant military career, but with a platoon of unskilled, idle, female soldiers without any drive under her charge, her ambitions for promotion are constantly thwarted.
A hilarious, poignant and crowd-pleasing black comedy, Zero Motivation is a biting commentary on the absurd bureaucracy and monotony of military conscription, the often undervalued roles of females in the military and the perils of carrying out meaningless orders. Lavie combats the status quo by flipping genre on its head and bending gender roles to a delightful extreme, giving a voice to the women who carry out menial, seemingly pointless work, while most importantly trying to maintain their love life, sense of dignity and sanity.
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