To prepare you for 21st year of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, completely virtual-for-the-first time as you’ve never seen before, we bring you 21 previews spotlighting the breath of films offered for your home viewing. The films, which represent more than half of those in the AJFF lineup Feb. 17-28, include classics, intimate family dramas, upbeat comedy and historic documentaries. Sit back and relax as the AJFF brings us together through film.
Emotional, honest and touching, “Asia” may be the “must see” film of this year’s AJFF. Israel’s entry in the 2021 Oscar race features two of the finest acting performances you’ll see on film.
The main character here is Asia, an Israeli nurse who struggles with motherhood because she gave birth at a young age before really learning how to be an adult. Her rebellious teenaged daughter, Vika, has little respect for Asia and spends most of her time at a skate park dreaming of boys. Despite living under the same roof, the two women are emotionally distant from each other.
But there is a complication, Vika has a neuromuscular disease and her condition is rapidly deteriorating. Asia doesn’t know how to deal with this, but soon finds she is forced to become a real mother to her dying daughter.
Israeli-Russian actress Alena Yiv stars as Asia and infuses so much honesty into the role that she won the Israeli best actress at the Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards). But, the performance that truly makes the film is Shira Haas as Vika. Haas blew audiences away and landed an Emmy nomination as the lead in the TV series “Unorthodox.” Her tender and heart-wrenching performance as Vika won her Israel’s best supporting actress award.
It is the power of the two leads that elevates this film beyond the typical “teenaged tragedy” film. “Asia” ended up winning nine Ophir Awards and is clearly the best film to come out of that country in 2020.