The harder that "Joe + Belle" tries to exert its hipness as a black comedy about two young lesbians accidentally killing people and eluding the law, the greater the strain shows.

The harder that “Joe + Belle” tries to exert its hipness as a black comedy about two young lesbians accidentally killing people and eluding the law, the greater the strain shows. Israeli director, co-writer and co-star Veronica Kedar tends not to notice when her film’s antics are becoming annoying, and displays little aptitude for comic timing. Feeling long at even 80 minutes, pic will draw little attention in its local July 31 release despite its uniqueness on the Israeli cinema scene. Fest run will be mild.

Joe (Kedar) arrives in Tel Aviv from Bangkok for no particular reason, especially given how she says she doesn’t care for the country. She soon encounters Belle (Sivan Levy, overdoing it), just released from a psychiatric hospital and already running away from her mom. Their unlikely courtship, which is never convincingly portrayed by the actors, includes shooting Joe’s ex-b.f. Matan (Yotam Ishay) and dumping his body. The chase ensues to Eilat, climaxing with a wan music contest in a bar. Pic’s design elements attempt a retro look, but this plus a few political dollops are merely irrelevant bits of business.

Joe + Belle

Israel

Production

Produced by Veronica Kedar, Amir Fishman. Directed by Veronica Kedar. Screenplay, Kedar, Stav Davis.

Crew

Camera (color, B&W, HD), Ron Haimov; editor, Daniel Keysary; music, Daphna Keenan; production designer, Marina Gorevich; costume designer, Ofri Barel. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, July 14, 2011. (In Outfest.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Sivan Levy, Veronica Kedar, Romi Aboulafia, Yotam Ishay, Irit Gidron, Ra'anan Hefetz. (Hebrew, English, French dialogue)

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