In the opening moments of “Asia,” a young-looking woman dances in a crowded, neon-lit bar and is shot downstairs. You might be surprised when, in the next scene, she appears as the mama of Ruthie Prieber’s mother-daughter drama. A 35-year-old Russian nurse (Elena Yiv) in Jerusalem, Asia, was in her teens when she had Vika (Shira Haas). Now that Vika is a teenager, and eager to experiment with boys and drugs, Asia struggles to discipline her, while trying to escape herself into hookups and drinks after long work shifts. . Adding urgency to Vika’s teenage rebellion is her rapidly progressing degenerative illness, which makes her desperate to experience life’s hedonistic pleasures.
“Asia” follows the distortions in Asia and Vika’s relationship as Vika’s health rapidly deteriorates. Prebar directs with a delicate touch, with little music and a lens that is attentive to face and gaze. But if the film avoids the play’s typical sentimentality about an incurable disease, it indulges in heaviness. Asia and Vika struggle to emerge as full-fledged characters from the film’s monotonous, blue-gray frame, while the screenplay veers to a sinister conclusion in its bleak procession through provocative plot lines.
Most disturbing of these narrative twists is Gaby (Tamir Mula), a charming Arab nurse-aid whom Asia hires to look after Vika. In a misguided bid to fulfill her daughter’s wishes, Asia makes an entirely indecent proposal to Gabby—one that could be had in a more daring film, citing an exploration of the ethical questions often involved in caring. has been given. But “Asia” underestimates the breach and its emotional impact, which sounds like a dissatisfaction with Vika’s claim that she deserves more than our mercy.
not evaluated. In Hebrew and Russian, with subtitles. Walking Time: 1 hour 25 minutes. in Theaters.