In a world of insecurity and competition, sometimes the only way for a teenager to raise their social status is to act out — and usually, that involves sex.
So goes the uncomfortably realistic narrative of “Six Acts,” an Israeli film by director Jonathan Gurfinkel and writer Rona Segal that will screen at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival April 18.
The film is a harsh reminder of what it’s like to be 17. The dark and unsettling drama tells of a group of Israeli, secular, middle-class teenagers from the same public school who are caught in the web of an oversexed culture. The film’s main character, Gili, is new at school, and in order to gain popularity among her classmates she succumbs to the pressures of performing sexual favors for her new friends. The boys she hangs out with use and abuse her until Gili eventually finds she is no longer in charge of her own actions.
Segal, a 32-year-old Israeli journalist who wrote the film’s screenplay, admitted that the film will touch a raw nerve. She expects some audiences will judge Gili’s character and feel she deserves the disgrace she brings upon herself, while others will blame the film’s teenage boys and their crude behavior. But this sort of debate is the reason Segal wrote such a controversial story: She hopes to start a conversation about oversexed teenage life in Israel — a topic, which she says, is hardly addressed.