Program 27: Flawless (Haneshef)
SPOTLIGHT SELECTIONDirected by Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Nobody will argue against the fact that being a teenager can suck. And high school can be rough, no matter who you are. But it can also be wonderful and worthwhile and rewarding… if you can survive it.
Seventeen-year-old Eden (Ukranian transgender actress/model Stav Strashko) isn’t sure she will. Her father has moved her and her two little sisters more times than they care to count, whoever Eden’s trans identity is discovered and becomes a problem. New school after new school: it’s always the same result. Always the same hope for Eden: maybe this time will be different.
Instantly nicknamed “Miss Plateau” because of her flat chest in the new Jerusalem high school she just transferred to, Eden will take that over some of the other things she’s been called before. And when she’s quickly befriended by two classmates, Tiggist and Keshet, who feel her pain in the “we hate our bodies” club, Eden starts to settle in and dares to relax a little bit. Maybe this time will be different. After all, it’s prom-posal time of year. Tiggist is certain her flat chest is the reason her boyfriend hasn’t asked her to prom yet. Keshet hates her nose, certain that a smaller one would garner her a date. And while Eden has turned a few heads, it’s Itay, a ruthlessly bullied boy, who may be a kindred spirit.
Like most teenage girls anywhere in the world, the three are desperate to look other than they do. And when Tiggist and Keshet rope Eden into the alarming deal they made – without the knowledge of their parents – with a woman online, agreeing to travel to Kiev and trade a kidney for the plastic surgery they each so desperately want, things get darker. But directors Sharon Maymot and Tal Granit only leave us there long enough for things to begin to crumble for Eden, before taking us right back to high school. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell which is worse.
Kudos to Strashko for giving a stunning performance that feels genuine and heartfelt. She also makes history as the first transgender woman to receive a Best Actress nomination at the Israeli Academy Awards.
It’s almost startling to realize that teenagers in Israel go through the same insecurities and worries that teens do here. With one of the most honest portrayals of what it feels like to be a trans adolescent, Flawless is both heartwarming and exceptionally relatable in a way we haven’t seen in a while… and that in itself is a breath of fresh air.
~ Georgia Beers
Awards & Accolades
- Nominee, Best Picture – Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards)
- Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival
- Official Selection – Jerusalem Film Festival
- Official Selection – Sidewalk Film Festival (Birmingham)
- Official Selection – San Diego Jewish Film Festival
- Official Selection – Philadelphia Israeli Film Festival