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In modern Israel, depicted as a land of sunshine and graft, Orna comes home from a job interview with a property developer. When she tells her husband about it, amber – if not actually red – flags come up. The man was her commanding officer in her military service – and remembers her well. As his personal assistant, there will be ‘no normal working hours, but lots of possibilities to advance.’ Lacking obvious qualifications, she sees him as a mentor, and she needs his money: her husband’s restaurant is in hock. Orna proves to have the essential gift of the ‘office wife’: the ability to intuit her employer’s needs. Unfortunately, Benny’s needs – or rather, his desires – go beyond the professional. A fleshy middle-aged chancer, whose 28-storey dream project is built on sandy ground, he takes her on a sales trip to Paris, where her powers of persuasion save the day. But then, after a celebratory drink, there is a horrible incident in his hotel room.
Director Michal Aviad, better known in Israel as a documentarist, presents a cautionary tale in unflashy style, carried along by the subtle lead performance of Liron Ben-Shlush as a conscientious young woman struggling to negotiate a world in which powerful men confuse employment with ownership.
Liron Ben-Shlush won the Best Actress Award of the Israeli Film Academy in 2019 for her performance in Working Woman.
“Working Woman tells a story that’s timely yet timeless. …under Michal Aviad’s sympathetic lens, it’s one that stands out with a sense of urgency.” - Monica Castillo, rogerebert.com
“An intelligent and masterful whistle-blowing of the ways in which powerful men use long-game coercion and professional statuses violently, to achieve violent things.” - Abi Silverthorne, The Hollywood News.
“Ben-Shlush is excellent as Orna, subtly showing her competence and her growing alienation from her job and her predicament… her gradual disintegration, and then recovery. Aviad has made a film that’s powerful in its understatement, while being utterly focused on its one subject.” - Chris Knipp, Writing: Movies.