Based on events in Samira’s life, the film follows the complex relationship of YASMINE (37), an openly lesbian Israeli Arab living in Tel Aviv, and her young lover, OR (26), an intelligence officer in the Israeli army. Their liaison is being shadowed by the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
As part of routine protocol of her army intelligence unit, Or is summoned for a background check and a polygraph test. She admits to Yasmine that at the start of their relationship she underwent a similar investigation, in which she told the army about Yasmine and her family. At the time, she lied to the army that they had briefly dated but that the relationship had ended.
Yasmine’s sister, JAHAN(35) arrives for dinner. She just came through the humiliating checkpoints of the Israeli Army and is stunned to discover that Yasmine’s girlfriend is part of the occupying forces. The situation quickly escalates.
Project Type:Short Script
Number of Pages:18
Country of Origin:Israel
2008 – Actress in the short-film "Gevalt" – Netali Baron. Best-film award winner at TLV Fest.
2012 – Lead role in the television series "30 shekels and hour" – David Ofek and Sari Ezouz. Israeli Academy of Film and Television's best TV series for 2012.
2012 – Actress in the theater production, "The Peacock of Silwan." Stage direction award, 2012 Jaffa Film Festival. The show is still running at the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Jaffa.
2013 – Supporting role in the movie "Boreg" – Shira Geffen (winner of the prestigious Caméra d'Or ("Golden Camera") at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
2014 – Lead role in the television series "30 shekels and hour" – David Ofek and Sari Ezouz. Season Two.
2014 – Participation in the production of "Salim Salim," Acre Festival for Alternative Israeli Theater; winner of the best play and best actor awards.
2015 – Role in the short-film, "longing" (temporary title) – Taliah Hoffman.
2016 – Guest-part in the feature film, "Longing," 90 minutes – Savi Gabizon.
2017 – Participation in the performance piece by video artist Yael Bartana, Arhuss, Denmark.
2017 – Graduate degree studies at the Steve Tisch School of Film and TV, directors track, Tel Aviv University.
Awards and citations:
2012 – Honorable mention for unique acting, Acre Film Festival.
2015 – Best supporting actress, "Golden Porcupine" Fringe Awards.
2015 – Best screenplay award for a short-film at TLVFest, Tel Aviv's International LGBT Film Festival.
2017 – Best actress, Jerusalem Film Festival.
2017 – Best supporting actress, "Golden Porcupine" Fringe Awards.
My name is Samira Saraya. I am a woman, Arab, Palestinian, Israeli, and a lesbian. I was born in Haifa and for the past 26 years I have lived in Tel Aviv.
My passion for filmmaking stems from a desire to bring the reality in which I live to consciousness. Polygraph is based on real events from my life. All components of my identity are in an almost-constant state of struggle and resistance to the oppression they face. I am a woman living in a patriarchal world, a Palestinian-Israeli who lives in a place that denies my existence, and an Arab lesbian woman in a conservative, homophobic society. All these layers and intersections are a part of me and give me a unique perspective that I want to share with my audience.
It is my desire to bring to the screen a character many are unfamiliar with and who is even often perceived as non-existent in the eyes of Jewish Israeli society – a proud Palestinian Arab woman, strong and out of the closet. I'd also like to introduce the presence of gay Arab characters (such as Yasmine and George) in an Arab society that does not recognize that these people exist. ("We don't have those types here…")
I choose to bring to the screen stories I very much wanted to see as a younger girl, but never existed, growing up in conservative Arab and Jewish societies. It's important to me that these stories are told, and that they portray a different reality than the one I experienced growing up. It's important to me that young boys and girls, struggling to find their place, can connect and identify with a different voice – one that I never had the chance to hear. Filmmaking for me is an attempt to foster change for a better world.
The story is my reality. It takes place mostly in Yasmine's apartment to give a sense of the bubble in which the heroines of the film choose to live – particularly Yasmine. Outside the confines of her home, she struggles with the reality she encounters. She then secludes in her apartment, but the outside world sneaks in; people knocking at her door, radio and television, and the sporadic air raid sirens.
The movie will be filmed, to the greatest possible extent, in all natural light, without makeup or beautification. The camera will be static, the characters will move within the frame, a choreographed mise-en-scène. The heroines, together in their reality, are trapped within this frame.
As the plot progresses and the camera moves closer to Yasmine, we see past her bubble and sense the complexity of her situation. The film ends at sunrise on the roof of their apartment building. The frame now widens as our heroines become small amid the backdrop of the big city.