Eddie is a lonely security guard in a Tel Aviv shopping mall. The closest he gets to people is when he sweeps them for explosives or looks inside their shopping bags. Eating Chinese take-out alone every night in his dreary apartment, Eddie (Ohad Knoller of “Yossi and Jagger”) dreams of escaping to Easter Island, where he plans to wait out the impending end of the world, predicted centuries ago and scheduled to arrive next week.
Eddie’s routine is disrupted by the noisy entrance of May (Efrat Ben-Yaakov), a free-spirited, ill-kempt young woman who is about to be thrown out of the mall for shoplifting. The two misfits form an unlikely alliance, their burgeoning relationship as sweet as it is quirky.
“We Are Not Alone,” Lior Har Lev’s debut film, would not amount to much if not for the endearing way the two leads inhabit their characters. May, who claims to be homeless, sleeps in a doghouse in a pet shop window; Eddie brings her slices of pizza so, he explains, she won’t have to turn tricks in the men’s room to buy food. These are strange people who live outside social norms, but on them, the oddest behaviors sit comfortably.
The film is shot almost entirely inside Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center, a bonus for viewers who know the mall. And gorgeous shots of the otherworldly statues on Easter Island lend a slow beauty to Eddie’s apocalyptic imaginings. This is a love story — sweet but not shmaltzy, smart but not smarmy. Fun and optimistic, in an offbeat way. — sue fishkoff
“We Are Not Alone,” 8:55 p.m. Aug. 4 at the JCCSF, 9:35 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Grand Lake in Oakland, 8:15 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. In Hebrew with English subtitles. (Unrated, 90 minutes)