Leah Harrison is a reporter and copy editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Across various seasons and settings in Israel and four vastly different yet ultimately connected life stories, “Saving Neta” illustrates the effect that stopping to observe and truly see the humanity in another person can have.
Amid trouble and conflict in their own lives, four women have chance encounters with Neta: a single mom misconnecting in her relationship with her teenage daughter; a lesbian musician struggling with her feelings about becoming pregnant; a mother of two facing down the demise of her marriage; and a sister forced to make difficult decisions about the care of her developmentally challenged sister after the death of their mother.
An enigmatic yet troubled drifter, Neta is the kind of unassuming soul who, through even the briefest contact, draws you in, engendering so many questions about his life that you more closely examine your own. In ways subtle and significant, the situations of those who encounter him are forever altered. Over time, Neta is changed for the better as well.
Actor Benny Avni skillfully portrays Neta, undergoing a striking emotional and dramatic physical transformation through the course of the film. Critically acclaimed writer/director Nir Bergman awards the audience with meticulous cinematography and small yet satisfying details in the closing moments, which, upon careful reflection, cleverly come full circle with the opening scene.
Saving Neta weaves a thoughtful story about the interconnectedness of us all, about paying it forward, and about the ripple effect that even brief encounters can cause.
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screenings: Jan. 28, 11 a.m., Perimeter Pointe; Feb. 5, 7:50 p.m., Springs; Feb. 10, 1 p.m., Tara; Feb. 14, 1:10 p.m., Springs