Antarctica is a light-hearted comedy set in Tel Aviv about a young gay man named Omer (Tomer Illan) who on his 30th birthday finds himself distraught over his failure to find love and a true purpose in life. If that were the full scope of the narrative, I could not recommend this lovely, demonstrably gay comedy as highly as I do. But there’s a good deal more at work in writer/director Yair Hochner’s sharp, quirky, aggressive, yet un-abusive little movie. Still, it’s a gay flick in Hebrew, so millions it will not make.
In a sequence early on in the film we see a succession of vignettes in which Boaz (Ofer Regirer), rather than the film’s lead Omer, participates in borderline-explicit sexual encounters with various characters, all of whom we will encounter later. The film moves forward three years where the story begins again with Omer, a librarian with all his noted woes, who is also pretty easy to get into the sack. Writer/director Yair Hochner uses a number of clever (if not original) devices to weave together several storylines, including dividing the screen into several smaller screens, so we may watch several vignettes at once, which is not easy with a subtitled movie, but worth the effort.
Indeed it’s a necessary device, because there are a lot of characters, plots and sub-plots flitting around Antarctica. Omer’s sister Shirley (Lucy Dubinchilk) breaks off her engagement for a lesbian relationship with her boss; Omer’s friends Eitan (Oshiri Sahar) and Miki (Yuval Raz) have lots of wild sex, and vex over the meaning of life; Omer meets Danny (Yiftach Mizrahi), who might be The One, but he also meets Ronen (Guy Zoaretz), who also might be The One. And there’s the potential alien invasion.
You’ll likely lose track of most of these characters and plots, and none of them actually matter. They’re filler. Still, there’s enough going on at the center of Antarctica to hold your attention, the cute boys getting it on notwithstanding. It’s smart and funny and stylish in a not too obvious way. In other words, it’s a good movie, just because it’s a good movie.
Distributor: Regent Releasing
Cast: Tomer Illan, Guy Zoaretz, Ofer Regirer, Oshri Sahar, Yiftach Mizrahi, Yuval Raz, Lucy Dubinchik, Liat Akta, Yael Deckelbaum, Rivka Neuman and Noam Huberman.
Director/Screenwriter: Yair Hochner
Producers: Eitan Reuven
Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, nudity and language.
Running time: 110 mins.
Release date: Nov 14 LA, Nov 28 NY, Dec 19 San Diego, Jan 2 SF