An impressionistic vid docu about the complex class and religious tensions in poor Tel Kabbir neighborhood of Tel Aviv, “The South: Alice Never Lived Here” puns on title of 1974 Martin Scorsese drama and Lewis Carroll tale to make point that illusion of wonderland must give way to challenging reality of day-to-day coexistence. Already traveling the Jewish fest circuit, absorbing pic reps another benevolently critical filmmaking voice in the region and could have stimulating ancillary life.
Confessing an initial confusion about what, exactly, her work was to be, Senyora Bar David decides to contrast her story with those of her 89-year-old bubbe Ida Reuven and 15-year-old conflicted daughter Elinor. These three generations of women grapple with tangled issues of origin, race and class stemming from tensions between the Sephardic Jews from Maghreb and Balkan regions, and Ashkenazic Jews with roots in Eastern Europe. Material is made accessible to outsiders by Bar David’s measured, compassionate approach to structure and subjects. Tech credits are richly textured and low-key, eloquently imbuing everyday footage with helmer’s proud sense of heritage and self.