In the pilot episode of Israeli TV series Losing Alice, the viewer is seduced immediately. It’s a dark and stormy night. Violins are playing loudly. The cinematography is slick. Everything feels surreal. What is happening? Right from the beginning, we can expect the unexpected.
Curated by the Jerusalem Film Festival, for the We Are One: A Global Film Festival and written & directed by Sigal Avin, the pilot is intriguing to say the least. She describes the series as a “neo-noir, fascination (which) spirals into Faustian bargain: as Alice’s obsession deepens, she starts to lose her grip on her integrity, lured instead by seductive mirages of power and success.”
Alice (Ayelet Zurer), a 48-year-old director, is placeless: after investing all of her energy in raising her family, she feels taken for granted, still restless with professional ambition. But one fateful train ride, she meets a 24-year-old screenwriter, named Sophie (Lihi Kornowski)—an unwitting femme fatale who seems to have her whole life ahead of her.
The chemistry between Alice and Sophie is palpable in their first meeting. Zurer’s understated fascination with Kornowski’s youthful confidence and appetite for trouble is delicious to watch. We also meet Alice’s husband, played by Gal Toren. Toren plays the faithful spouse who is seemingly unaffected by his movie stardom, and the young women who vie for his affection. A writer, a director, a movie-star, the stage is set for the three main characters to work together.
One of the stand-outs in this series is the music. While the main characters and supporting cast seamlessly interact with one another, (including Alice’s mother-in-law fabulously played by Chelli Goldenberg) composers Tom Armony and Assa Raviv create a soundtrack that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.
Series creator Sigal Avin splits her time working between the United States And Israel. She created a series of short films in April 2017 in Israel called #ThatsHarrassment before the #MeToo movement started that fall. It depicted harassment in the workplace. She later called upon David Schwimmer to help produce an American version and re-release the films. It starred Emmy Rossum, Zazie Beetz, and Schwimmer himself. These micro-films appeared on Hulu, Amazon, FX, Starz networks to name a few.
While we were only treated to the first episode at We Are One, the series claims to “grow thornier with intrigue, as it deftly explores aging, jealousy, and guilt through the prism of its nuanced characters. At once a gripping erotic thriller and a frank tale of women staking their territory within a dismissive industry, this eight-episode series pushes Alice’s moral integrity to its breaking point.”
The series will premiere on Israeli television in the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see if it can obtain worldwide distribution for an international audience. I would love to see the series in its entirety. Judging by the first episode, Losing Alice promises to be an entertaining psychological thriller.
STORY UPDATE: Losing Alice has been picked up by and is available on Apple TV.