'Black Bus'

Pic follows the second-class treatment of women in Israel's ultra-Orthodox community.

An interesting topic — the second-class treatment of women in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community — receives convoluted treatment in “Black Bus,” the third in a docu trilogy about Haredi women from Israeli helmer Anat Zuria (“Purity,” “Sentenced to Marriage”). Title refers to a recent religious law requiring women to sit at the back of some public Jerusalem buses, because for Orthodox men, gender separation promotes purity. Audiences unfamiliar with the issues addressed here will likely find the film too loosely structured and lacking in context. Commissioned by Israel’s Channel 8, “Bus” should make select fest stops before arriving at broadcast terminals.

Zuria taps two former Haredi women to share their thoughts on the segregated buses, as well as other humiliations: Blogger Sara Einfeld and photographer/law student Shulamit Weinfeld were recently banned for refusing to conform to ultra-Orthodox dictates. Einfeld’s columns highlight her wrenching experiences and those of acquaintances, while Weinfeld photographs like an anthropologist, documenting the body language and community dress. Both miss their extended families (who are no longer allowed to speak to them) but feel as though they can now discover themselves. DV tech credits are serviceable.

Black Bus

Israel

Production

An Anat Zuria production in co-production for Channel 8 with the support of Rabinovich Fund, Tel Aviv Cinematheque. (International sales: Cat & Docs, Paris.) Produced by Anat Zuria, Sigal Landesberg. Executive producer, Lynn Roth. Directed, written by Anat Zuria.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DV), Ron Katzenelson; editor, Era Lapid; music, Alex Claude. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 13, 2010. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Sara Einfeld, Shulamit Weinfeld
(Hebrew, English dialogue)

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