Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Princess

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Princess

Article excerpt

(2014)

Directed by Tali Shalom Ezer

Princess is a coming-of-age story but not within the conventional bounds of budding sexuality and identity formation we often expect to find in such films. Adar (Shira Haas) is a twelve-year old girl living with her mother (Alma) and her much younger step-father (Michael) in Tel Aviv, Israel. Although Adar is budding into young adulthood, she often acts like a young child, climbing into bed with her mother and Michael, spending lazy days in bed, not going to school and rough-housing with Michael. But there is an underlying sense of dread, as we see Michael try to shape Adar in particular ways - he touches her too intimately, treats her much like a young boy, and calls her "Prince", insinuating she's a boy rather than a girl.

As the movie progresses, we see Alma view her daughter differently, as if she's becoming jealous of her and her relationship with Michael. Adar voices her internal angst when she states "I wish I were dead." No one particularly pays attention to Adar's internal turmoil, and she strolls the streets looking for connection. She encounters a young boy, slightly older than her, but amazingly, dressed the same as her, who acts and looks much like her older doppelganger. Alan (Adar Zohar-Hanetz) is homeless and so Adar brings him home. At this point, we see the dynamics of the family shift, as Michael has now found a true Prince in this young male.

The intertwining characters of Adar and this young man culminate and mingle into one person; after Michael sexually assaults Adar, she wakes up and assumes the gender identity of a boy, a boy who can fight back against Michael and his predation. …

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