Bleakly funny, poignant, and timely, Zero Motivation is Israel’s answer to beloved war send-ups like M*A*S*H and Stripes. Though where those productions deflect reality in favor of slapstick, Zero Motivation address the grittiness head-on, but never in sacrifice of good humor.
Director/Writer Talya Lavie’s first feature length film, Zero Motivation has been an immediate sensation. Since its Israeli opening in June, the film has broken box-office records and nabbed awards—among them Tribeca Film Festival’s coveted award for Best Narrative Feature. It’s evident why.
Following the stories of a unit of young female soldiers in a remote southern Israeli post, the film takes a stark and often hilarious look at Israeli military life. A commanding performance by Dana Ivgy—whose work earned her an Ophir award for Best Actresss—as an emotionally unstable soldier serves as bedrock for a cast of vast talent.
“I wanted to capture the pathos of intrigue of my office,” Lavie said at a recent screening, referring to her time as a pilot in the army. It’s a movie “about Israeli society, and the army was a way to look at it in an extreme way.”