Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Neta Garty in Maria Schrader's "Liebesleben" [2007 Israel, Germany]

It's a rare occasion to introduce someone who's predominantly an actress as a director, even more so if that actress has an impressive nude portfolio of her own - German actress Maria Schrader is a legend in that aspect which of course will be discussed here in the near future. But the chosen subject for her screenplay and directorial debut in "Liebesleben" [Eng. Title: Love Life] is certainly fascinating and intriguing, to say the least. :)

Ms. Schrader provokes us with the very choice of her title - especially when we see more of obsession rather than love actually depicted through the film. But love there is, from unexpected quarters. Set in modern day Jerusalem, we follow the sudden upheaval in Ya'ara's hitherto 'planned' existence - a young married woman working on her masters degree, with a promising career and blissful life ahead of her. It was her introduction to Arie, a friend of her father that kindles a passion in Ya'ara hitherto unknown, even risking her marriage, family, and dignity in its pursuit. A family in denial's dirty linen is forcibly exhibited much to Ya'ara's dismay, through her own impulsive behaviour. Some of the situations Ya'ara gets into are quite hilarious, which makes me wonder if this could have worked better as a comedy taking a wry look at people's idiosyncrasies in their quest to fulfil hidden desires, rather than a drama that at times seems forced and needlessly drawn out. But since you all know I hate to be critical of anyone making their directorial debut, I'd say the debut has been a qualified success.

It certainly has several things going for it - the characterisation from a woman's perspective which is refreshingly frank, the clean cinematography aided by the stunning locations, and the sound engineering. While we may have to deal with the accented English (charming in some ways), it is a simple film that doesn't try to say too much, but also throws a rare non-cliché'd glimpse into middle-class Jewish life. Recommended Viewing.

Amazon.de DVD Link

Compilation: Neta Garty

Neta Garty in Maria Schrader's Liebnesleben

Scene Guide:
  • No nudity but sexy. Ya'ara impulsively tries on Arie's trousers at a boutique changing room, only to be caught with the wrong red-handed. Ya'ara is played by young Israeli actress Neta Graty (credited as Netta Garti).
  • No nudity - Ya'ara invites herself into Arie's house and he has fleeting pointless sex with her to get her out of the way.
  • On her way home, Ya'ara imagines herself as Arie's trophy paraded in public.
  • Ya'ara hands over her panties in the car (as self-respecting married women do to strangers, I guess), and soon finds herself making love to Arie while his Turkish friend watches, before joining in..!
  • An embarrassed Ya'ara tries to escape the groping middle-aged men, only to find herself naked among some workers restoring the building.
  • As if that wasn't humiliation enough, it turns out Arie's Turkish friend is also a friend of her family..!
  • Ya'ara, during one of her 'impulsive' vists to Arie's - she'd changed her mind about accompanying her hubby to Istanbul - finds herself naked (again) in the bathroom that her father, Arie's guest is wanting to use. She hides herself in the bath, but nevertheless ends up drawing his attention. Could this get any worse for the poor sod - catching his daughter naked at a friend's house, who'd also had an affair with his wife years ago..?!


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