Despite being set in Israel during the Gulf War, this film from Arik Kaplun, which swept the Israeli Academy Awards, is more sweet romantic comedy than wartime drama (albeit one with Saddam Hussein lurking in the background). It opens with Yana (Evelyn Kaplun), pregnant and in debt, being abandoned by her husband in their Tel Aviv apartment, which they share with Eli (Nir Levy), a budding filmmaker and accomplished womanizer. When a series of missile attacks forces Yana and Eli to take refuge in Eli’s sealed bedroom, attraction aided by the fear of imminent death sets in, and they discover just how hard it can be to get it on while wearing gas masks.
The theme of love and compassion amid conflict is fleshed out by an array of supporting characters: the landlady who’s tough only so she can melt like butter before the last scene; a couple who find that forcing their war-hero grandfather to beg in the street is more lucrative than working two jobs; and a street musician whose livelihood the grandfather’s presence threatens. Kaplun achieves an intimate tone that, along with a setting newly resonant for American audiences, helps the film rise above its time-worn predictable story. In Hebrew, Russian, and English with English subtitles.