Shoshana (2023)

February 22nd, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: MIchael Winterbottom | Cast: Irina Starshenbaum, Harry Melling, Douglas Booth, Gal Mizrav, Ian Hart, Aury Alby, Ofer Seker, Liudmyla Vasylieva | Wris: Michael Winterbottom, Laurence Coriat, Paul Viragh | 119 mins

Prolific English filmmaker Michael Winterbottom goes into thriller mode for his latest outing, 15 years years in the making, and set amidst the political movers and shakers in the run-up to Israel’s founding as a state. Palestine is still under the colonial rule of the British and this provided a favourable climate for Jews escaping from the Nazi clutches of Hitler.  

Inspired by real invents, the focus is journalist Shoshana Borochov (a feisty Irina Starshenbaum) the daughter of a Russian Socialist Zionist who held sway back in the day. Shoshana is a member of a paramilitary Zionist force and has inherited her father’s spirit as she deftly navigates the social milieu of the great and the good while working for a Hebrew-language paper, She also gives us a historical context in voiceover.

Naturally this influx of Jews gives rise to tensions amongst the existing Arab community. There are two Zionist organisations in particular – the Haganah, the paramilitary Zionist force to which Shoshana belongs, and the Irgun, a hard-core Zionist organisation focused on flushing out Arabs from the territory.

Soshana soon falls for English police officer Tom Wilkin (Douglas Booth), who is working alongside his colleague Geoffrey Morton (Melling) to capture the leader of the Irgun, Avraham Stern (Aury Alby), in order to shut it down. Morton also shares a frisson with Shoshana. Tel Aviv is a modern city complete with its new (at the time) Bauhaus buildings (although filming took place in southern Italy). Anyone who knows Tel Aviv will also appreciate what a closely-knit society it is with its social and business connections. And so Stern and Shoshana soon finds themselves connected through their many contacts.

This is an elegantly kitted-out political thriller with plenty of action between the sheets. There’s nothing like a man in a uniform – or a woman – in a uniform and silk negligee. Shoshana is also testament to the fact that nothing has really changed in the Middle East or in Europe for that matter (apart from the ‘elephant in the room’ that is Brexit). An enjoyable classically style romp that explores the way extremism and violence can force a wedge between people, forcing them to choose sides. @MeredithTaylor


Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia