A Muslim, a Jew and a Christian walk into a bar...Sounds like a bad joke, but it happens in Mike's Place, a Jerusalem watering hole owned by former war photographer Saul Stein and staffed by wayward yeshiva student Oren Rehany. Rehany, who has fled his studies to explore life outside Orthodox Judaism, meets up with Russian prostitute Tchelet Semel and falls in unrequited love with her.
The three friends live their lives on the outskirts of the region's constant turmoil, yet it manages to find them anyway. This debut feature, based on the life of American director Eitan Gorlin, who spent time studying in Israel, resists easy character typing and the taking of sides. Instead, a sort of fatalism pervades the air, as each character deals with the hand that they've been dealt. It's a fascinating--and at times moving--account of a seldom-seen slice of Jerusalem life. Drink it up.
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