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Close to Home

New York Premiere

Israel | 90 MINUTES | Hebrew, Arabic |


Close to Home locates the Israel-Palestine conflict within a social matrix involving the personal lives of two young women serving their compulsory duty in the Israeli army. Mirit is the quintessential goody-two-shoes, respectful of and obedient to her superiors. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Smadar is grappling with ways to reconcile army service with her own desire for rebellion. The two are thrown into the same unit, which is responsible for shaking down Arabs on the streets of Jerusalem for ID cards. But Smadar, like most of the other women in the unit, is more interested in hanging out than patrolling. This laxity is the source of her main conflict with Mirit, and it remains unresolved until a bomb explosion near their patrol route creates a tenuous bond of friendship between the two. After the bombing, Mirit and Smadar are given a plum assignment checking bags at the entrance to a fancy hotel, but Mirit's dalliance with a rakish Italian guest ultimately lands her a short stay in a military prison. As the film's end draws near, Mirit grows concerned that Smadar's rebellious nature is rubbing off on her, and a falling out occurs. In this searing study of Israeli women, Mirit and Smadar are individuals whose passions and interests are divorced from the Israel-Palestine conflict. In this sense, compulsory army service is seen as just another unpleasant hurdle to clear in order to start the adult portion of their lives.


Directed by Vidi Bilu and Dalia Hager

Codirector of Close to Home, Dalia Hager studied directing and screenwriting at Tel Aviv University's School of Cinema and Television. She has written and directed several short films, including The Landlady, Pink Letters, and the documentary Devora Bertonov. Her feature directorial debut was One Summer with Erika, which was her final project for her B.F.A. degree. Close to Home is Hager's second feature film. She also works as a screenwriter, journalist, and lecturer.


Vidi Bilu studied photography at Hadassah College in Jerusalem before working as a photographer for television networks. In 1989, she graduated from Beit Zvi, where she studied cinematic arts with a major in directing. Over the years, Bilu has directed numerous commercials as well as three documentaries. She worked as an editor of two documentaries between 2002 and 2004. Bilu has also written scripts and directed shows for television.