Out Of Sight

"Out of Sight" looks at how people, sighted or not, can be blind to each other's suffering. As the sightless heroine investigates her best friend's suicide, subtly detailed, moodily stylish pic flashes back to the girls as teens. But when the truth is revealed, nuance is drowned in horrified righteousness, and pic assumes the stodgy linearity of a TV movie.

With:
With: Tali Sharon, Avigail Harari, Hadas Yaron, Asi Dayan, Sandra Sade, Israel Polikov.

Israeli helmer Daniel Syrkin’s debut, “Out of Sight,” which snagged an Ophir directing award from the Israel Film and Television Academy, looks at how people, sighted or not, can be blind to each other’s suffering. As the sightless heroine investigates her best friend’s suicide, subtly detailed, moodily stylish pic flashes back to the girls as teens. But when the truth is revealed, nuance is drowned in horrified righteousness, and pic assumes the stodgy linearity of a TV movie. Since exposes of incest are old news Stateside, theatrical possibilities seem slim, though strong perfs and sentimental base could interest a femme-skewed cabler.

Blind Ya’ara (Tali Sharon) flies home from her Princeton Ph.D. program to attend the funeral of her cousin, Talia. The girls were inseparable companions since childhood, and Ya’ara cannot comprehend what could have driven her fearless, joyful cousin to take her own life.

Flashbacks show Talia (Hadas Yaron) supporting a young floating Ya’ara (Avigail Harari) in an azure swimming pool, and a blindfolded Talia being led by her blind cousin to the very edge of a cliff. Talia appears a selfless source of confidence and strength, serving as Ya’ara’s eyes and bolstering her sense of independence.

But when Ya’ara hears the contents of the late Talia’s diary and talks to her boyfriend, a very different picture emerges, accompanied by a new set of flashbacks that redefines the first set. Ya’ara stumbles through a suddenly unfamiliar world where formerly benign beings assume monstrous shapes.

A whispered voice on an old audiotape reveals Talia was a victim of incest. At this point, the fascinating story of the two girls, magnificently incarnated by Harari and Yaron, completely disappears and all ambiguity is subsumed by the problem, which soon implicates the whole family.

Through much of the action, Ya’ara’s blindness serves to map out the film’s topography and intensify the sense of locale, each setting serving as potentially treacherous terrain or victoriously traversed proving ground. Giora Bejach’s lensing proposes a present tense of darkness and harsh contrast, while the past, in opposition, evokes a plenitude of sensual experience. Other tech credits are solid, if somewhat old-fashioned.

Out Of Sight

Israel

Production: A JCS production. Produced by Mirit Toovi, Yoram Mandel, Ayelet Imberman. Directed by Daniel Syrkin. Screenplay, Noa Greenberg.

Crew: Camera (color), Giora Bejach; editor, Boaz Lion; music, Rafi Kadishson; production designer, Yoav Dahari; sound (Dolby), Ravid Dvir. Reviewed at Israeli Film Festival, New York, March 8, 2006. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Tali Sharon, Avigail Harari, Hadas Yaron, Asi Dayan, Sandra Sade, Israel Polikov.

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