Selected as one of the movies to be part of Critics’ Week at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Slut is an Israeli-made film that presents the life of a promiscuous woman, Tamar, who has two young daughters. Within the first few minutes of the film, Tamar is shown having intercourse with various men. Those scenes are not only explicit, but they reinforce the fact that men only want her for sex and nothing more, presenting her as a slut.
When Tamar decides to have sex with a man, it is for survival; she wants to get something in return without having to pay for it. For example, she gets two brand new bicycles for her daughters by sleeping with the man who frequently repairs her bike.
The arrival of Shai, played by Ishai Golan, changes Tamar’s life. He starts acting as a father figure to her daughters. He proves to Tamar that she can count on him and that he is serious about their relationship. Shai, in comparison to the many other men Tamar has slept with, doesn’t only see her in a sexual light, but as the woman she truly is.
Golan plays his role beautifully. He makes us believe that it’s possible for a woman in Tamar’s position to fall in love and to have a chance at happiness. Shai is symbolic of Tamar’s chance at finally breaking free of her dependence on men, since he is giving her everything that she needs and asking for nothing in return.
Director Hagar Ben Asher tried to cast an actress to fill the role of Tamar, until she came to the realization that she wanted to make this film, in every aspect, her own. One of the techniques she uses to make her portrayal of Tamar believable is the way she transmits her emotions. She makes every action count for a reason, such as dropping the eggs she’s holding to make herself look busy when a man comes asking to have sex with her.
The movie continues with the repercussions of Tamar’s reputation as a slut as she tries to establish a relationship with Shai. Men are still approaching Tamar for sex and she must decide whether or not to give into temptation. Her decision has a strong impact on Shai, and forces him to commit an act of violence. Ben Asher describes violence as being essential in love, and vice versa. This gives us an explanation for Tamar choosing to comfort Shai after what he has done.
The Slut is definitely a film that will move you from the beginning to the end by changing your perception of Tamar. She is not promiscuous by choice. This ultimately gives the viewer a chance to wonder who the real slut in the movie is.
The Slut starts at Cinema du Parc on March 16. It will be shown in Hebrew with French subtitles. More information is available at www.cinemaduparc.com.