“Working Woman” (MA) *** and a half
THE second narrative film written and directed by Israeli documentarist Michal Aviad reinforces her professional reputation as an advocate for women’s rights in the workplace. But how well does “Working Woman” make its statement?
Tolerably well without being overly assertive.
Liron Ben-Shlush plays Orna, in her early thirties, wife of Ofer (Oshri Cohen) and mother of three primary-school-age children. She gets a job in the Tel Aviv office of Benny (Menashe Noy) who needs an assistant in selling apartments in a new high-rise building with a view of the sea.
Hyper-efficient without over-stating her talents, Orna is devoted to Ofer who’s trying to establish a new restaurant in the country’s economic and cultural heart. Benny’s a friendly chap. But Orna’s presence in the office doesn’t tell him that he’s got a problem, which after a few months comes to the surface.
One day, he kisses her. She has to decide whether to give a well-paying job the quick flick or soldier on (military service has been a strong influence on her self-confidence and resolve). Benny apologises, promotes her to sales executive and promises it will never happen again.
Next year in Jerusalem: Tel Aviv is where Jewish couples wanting to fulfil the ancient promise can live out their last years in comfort.
The Benayouns are natives of France who’ve bought an apartment in the new building. Why not do a sales pitch in Paris? Benny needs Orna to support him there.
It’s not hard to figure out what’s about to happen. Benny tricks her into helping open the door of his hotel room. Orna endures a knee-trembler with neither co-operation nor pleasure.
Orna’s a game girl. Her choice between keeping a well-paid job and her loyalty to Ofer does not surprise. How she does it leads to a gentle if predictable conclusion.