Friday, January 21, 2022
Nine women of divergent backgrounds enroll in a video production seminar that promises to teach the fundamentals of filmmaking. These residents of Hadera, Israel are Jewish and Arab, observant and secular, ensconced in all manner of domestic arrangements, with life spread out before some of them and regarded by others in hindsight. Strangers to one another (one of the Jewish attendees has never interacted with Arabs until now), the students share the common goal of self-expression through their cameras, with Tel Aviv–based filmmaker Rona (Dana Ivgy, acclaimed star of Or and Zero Motivation) supplying instruction. Orit Fouks Rotem casts her debut feature with a mix of seasoned and nonprofessional actors, all shooting their own footage and viewing their colleagues’ work for the first time on screen. Sparked by former workshop leader Rotem’s personal experiences, Cinema Sabaya presents a deft and never didactic portrait of art’s capacity to unite disparate communities.