The very first human noise heard in Inertia is a scream, quickly cut off. Mira (Ilanit Ben Yaakov) wakes up and then realises that her dark dream is over, and that she has rejoined reality. It’s not a particularly fulfilling reality, and the darkness that consumes her sleep seems to be lingering in the daylight. Mira keeps her face carefully composed, and her minimal reactions to the weirdness that is making itself known in her life speak of a woman who is used to holding it together.
There’s much darkness around, even in the stunningly bright sunlight that illuminates Israel. She listens as her mother tells her the horror stories she’s heard on the news, of actions so despicable that they barely seem like things a human could do. Mira takes all of this on board with a glumness that becomes even more potent when her husband Benny (Dudu Niv) seems to vanish.
Director Idan Haguel creates a true sense of unease as Mira’s unspecified sleeping disorder numbs her to her situation. Some of this unease is accomplished by the sort of music that can be expected when a filmmaker is trying to make his audience uncomfortable. Other times it’s merely Mira’s reaction to yet another failure in a life that seems to be losing worth by the day. The concept of Mira being in a dream-like state as the result of her circumstances and sleeping disorder is at times overstated, but not annoyingly so.
It’s supremely well set-up, so it’s a shame that the resolution is a little perfunctory. It’s as though the script wrote itself into a corner and then didn’t quite know what to do next. Mira’s flirtations with the life she could have had without Benny are more fertile on screen, but to entirely shift focus to this would have been jarring. There are intriguing moments here, but it’s a case of too much teasing without enough climax.
Inertia does not yet have an official UK release date.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about the Berlin Film Festival 2016 visit here.
Watch the trailer for Inertia here: