ASIA Directed By Ruthy Pribar Starring: Alana Yiv, Shira Haas, Tamir Mula “When you were a baby, we used to lie like this, together in bed. The only thing that put you to sleep was my singing” Asia Asia’s motherhood has always been an ongoing struggle rather than an obvious instinct. Becoming a mother at a very early age has shaped Asia’ relationship with her daughter Vika. It is not easy to tell who is who: who is the mum and who is the daughter when we first meet Asia and Vika, they seem more like sisters.
Asia appears slightly desperate. Presumably down the years she imagined everything others were doing with her clubbing flirtations and sexual assignations in a car with a married colleague (Gera Sandler). While seventeen-year-old Vika was maybe hanging out with her pals and experimenting with drink and drugs, but she is more hesitant in her approach than her mother. First-time feature director Ruthy Pribar takes a loose and intimate approach to the relationship, allowing it to unfold in moments – a shared cup of soup here, a sudden foray into conversation there – as she gradually reveals that Vika is suffering from a degenerative disease. Where other directors might have leaned into this aspect for its sentiment, Pribar takes a much more subtle tack, allowing the sense of uncertainty about the progression of the illness to permeate the film as it also begins to make its presence in the mother/daughter relationship. Physically, Vika begins to need increasing amounts of help but it is the emotional connection between her and her mum come to the fore as Pribar studies both characters with equal scrutiny. The women are allowed to be complex and difficult, with Asia initial attempts at a ceasefire with Vika too self-centred for success. Vika, meanwhile, is never shown as a victim, as Pribar explores how difficult it can be to sustain your own personal rebellion when your body is undertaking a mutiny of its own. This may be a sort of coming-of-age for Vika but its also as much a coming-of-maturity for Asia and a reconciliation with loss for both women. 24