Isolation on the Silver Screen

Lavan, Hebrew for “white,” is a dark film that carries univeral themes of isolation, cruelty, guilt, bravery and utter madness.

Lavan is a 30-minute film by two Tel Aviv University graduates, Guilhad Emilio Schenker and Yossi Meiri. The film premiered at the 34th edition of the World Film Festival in Montreal this past weekend.

The film will also be screened in Bombay, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The main character of the film is held hostage in a male prison run by women. The protagonist is confined in a white square cell and is only fed white rice and milk. This method of punishment is known as White Torture. The prisoner does not know the reasons why he is there.

The film invites you into an unusual institute of powerful middle-aged women and barbaric methods of punishment, which will leave you with conflicted emotions on the punishers and the punished.

With little dialogue, the scenes are full of violence and sexuality and at times very hard to watch. This is not a feel-good movie but will certainly put you in a place that many will never experience.

A real prison in Iran that performs this method of torture inspired the producers. Schenker and Meiri hope the movie will expose what happens to people who are captured and then subjected to torture in these private prisons.

Lavan was not intended to be political, or to raise awareness on the issues in Iran or the Middle East. Instead, the movie is centered on a man’s journey who is without information and contact from the outside world.

Packed with intricate scenes and lasting images, it is with little surprise that you learn that Lavan took four years to complete.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 04, published September 7, 2010.