Like last year’s The Specials, a French film about a Parisian shelter for autistic children, this realistic Israeli drama is a compelling account of a volunteer-run shelter for boys and adolescents who, for whatever reason (abuse, crime, neglect), have no home. Director Erez Tadmor and star Roy Assaf based this film on an actual shelter in a prestigious Tel Aviv neighborhood which faced closure at the hands of a high-powered real estate firm and government inspections during a time of transition.
The script balances the stories of the various boys and the cast movingly portray their struggles to integrate into society and preserve their only home. Assaf plays Jackie, a graduate of the shelter who is clearly unequipped to deal with the challenges the home faces; Ornella Bess as the critical but sympathetic social worker who inspects the house—each member of the cast renders their role with nuance, sensitivity and definitely without glamour.
The Leonard Cohen-like songs by Omer Hershman and sung by Shuli Rand are another stand-out feature. The result is an uplifting film of utter authenticity well worth your attention, as well as the nominations for Best Film and Best Supporting Actress at the Haifa International Film Festival.