Review: Two–Shtaim (2021)

Two–Shtaim (2021)

Directed by: Astar Elkayam | 80 minutes | drama | Actors: Agam Schuster, Mor Polanuer, Naama Preis, Gil Desiano, Kim Gordon, Marco Carmel, Hadas Kalderon, Sobhi Hosari, Josette Wiggan

When we meet Omer and Bar, the ‘two’ from the title, they make passionate love. As if it wasn’t obvious enough that these women are crazy about each other, Bar (Agam Schuster), who just brought her friend to climax, suggests they have a baby together. Omer (Mor Polanuer) is immediately delighted. It sounds like the couple is talking about this for the first time and it’s a bit of a forced moment to bring up such a topic.

In the scenes that follow, Omer and Bar immediately get to work. A sperm bank is called, which points to the instructional videos on the website. On the phone, it is advised not only to get Omer pregnant, but also to gamble on Bar, which the women decline (for a reason that becomes clear later). That seems a somewhat strange approach from the medical world, and that feeling of unease is reinforced when this is also pointed out again later at the clinic.

‘Two’ shows in an unromanticized way how the process of artificial insemination takes place via an anonymous donor and what that does to the potential parents. Omer actually immediately has all her doubts. Although the company considers it positive that the sperm donor has been fully screened and the chance of diseases or other surprises is small, it mainly sees disadvantages. What if the child wants to know who the biological father is? What if the child later falls in love with someone who also turns out to be a child of the same donor? Bar, however, dismisses the objections.

The costs charged by the sperm bank are also not tender. When it gets to the papers, something breaks with Omer. She’s tired of her body being used “like a brothel.” When Yoni, an ex of Omer, comes into the picture due to a combination of circumstances, the solution seems to be at hand.

‘Two’ makes some strange jumps in the story. The backgrounds of the women are only poorly developed: Bar has an occasional event (she does something with art and cooking) and Omer is involved in experimental dance, but we don’t get much of their relationship (apart from their physical attraction). each other) and their environment. That makes it harder to live with. Especially when tensions run high later in the film, it is difficult for the viewer to show understanding for one of the two. Yet the film is easy to watch (it also lasts less than an hour and a half, which could have been longer). But by focusing the story only on the desire to have children, a lot of potential is lost. Shame.

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