SECTION World Cinema Dramatic Competition
RUN TIME 92 min
SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles
Adar, an androgynous 12-year-old girl, lives in a small apartment with her mother, Alma, and her young stepfather, Michael. The three co-exist in an unconventional and intimate way, with Adar often slipping into bed to sleep with Alma and Michael. While Alma is at work, Adar’s close relationship with the unemployed Michael has taken a dark turn, involving gender-bending role-playing games that turn fantasy into violation. As Adar’s home life turns increasingly intrusive, she begins to search for help outside, but discovers she must retreat into a new friendship with Alan, a waifish boy who looks startlingly like her, in order to cope.
In her astonishing, bold first feature, writer/director Tali Shalom-Ezer unflinchingly dramatizes disturbing subject matter and shows the extreme and insidious ways it affects her characters. She goes deep into the psyche of her young protagonist (Shira Haas, in a performance of quiet strength and maturity) and implicates the adults in a profound way. Atmospheric and highly aestheticized, Princess beautifully tells an unsettling story about self-preservation in the wake of lost innocence. —K.Y.
COMPANY Marker Films