RED COW

By Tsivia BARKAI

PLAN B - as PROD

Drama - Development 2011

Red Cow is a coming of age film that begins with the outbreak of the second Intifada and takes place in the heart of the settlements surrounding Ramallah. The film accompanies the journey of the protagonist, Benni (Benyamina), 17, who was born in the settlements of the West Bank, during the critical

Festivals
& Awards

Berlinale - Berlin IFF 2018
Generation
Berlin European Film Market (EFM) 2018
    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • ISRAEL
    • Languages
    • HEBREW
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Tsivia BARKAI
    • Writer(s)
    • Tsivia BARKAI
    • Producer(s)
    • Ronen BEN-TAL (Plan B)
    • Synopsis
    • According to Jewish law, when the Messiah comes and the Third Temple is built, the nation of Israel will perform the ritual commandment of the Red Cow (mitzvah). A Red Cow must be completely red and its ashes are intended for purification. Our Sages of Blessed Memory count nine red cows burned for their purifying ashes, the tenth of which “will be performed by the King Messiah - may he speedily be revealed, amen, so may be the will of Hashem."
      Today there are groups who are searching for the tenth cow in order to “hasten” redemption.
      Red Cow is a coming of age film that begins with the outbreak of the second Intifada and takes place in the heart of the settlements surrounding Ramallah. The film accompanies the journey of the protagonist, Benni (Benyamina), 17, who was born in the settlements of the West Bank, during the critical moments in which she will form her sexual, religious and political awareness. These are her last moments of innocence, which end in bitter disillusionment and an unavoidable parting. Benni, who lost her mother at birth, is the only daughter of a father who devotes all his energy to “cleansing” the Temple Mount of Islam and realizing the religious Zionist concept, must give up her safe, familiar home for liberation and sanity. Red Cow sheds light on the lifestyle and beliefs of the religious settlers, but does so from the perspective of Benni, who is reluctantly different. On a journey filled with passion and pain, Benni realizes her different sexual orientation and must re-examine the world in which she has grown up as everything she has tried to repress threatening to erupt. The obvious is no longer obvious. The indifference that previously served her now cracks. While her father seeks the red cow that will bring redemption to the nation of Israel, Benni, possessed and confused, seeks the woman – her face constantly changing.
      In a suffocating and stressful environment that is nonetheless full of love and clashing impulses, Benni discovers not only the potion of passion and impulse but also the pain of disillusionment. Her father, with members of the Jewish Underground, decides on a terrorist action in revenge for suicide attacks and Benni must react and pay a price.
      Through her otherness, Benni reveals the difficulty and helplessness of the “other” in the face of homogeneous national ideology. This otherness is the starting point of the film, rendering it original and fascinating and allowing the protagonist to see beyond herself. Thus, (unlike the father,) the film Red Cow, in contrast to the commandment (Mitzvah) of the Red Cow, suggests a completely different kind of redemption from that of blood and land: "The foreigner comes in when the consciousness of my difference arises, and he disappears when we all acknowledge ourselves as foreigners, unamenable to bonds and communities" (Julia Kristeva, in “Strangers to Ourselves”)
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