Jessica, a young French Israeli actress, is visiting Israel for an audition during one of the recent wars between Israel and Gaza. The omnipresent atmosphere of war engulfs the streets and shapes the experience of Jessica’s visit, sweeping her towards a pursuit following a certain kind of pleasure.
Jouissance is a film about our search for satisfaction through personal, political and sexual desires, a pursuit of what Jacques Lacan would describe as a paradoxical pleasure, one that reaches an almost intolerable excitement, enjoyment that goes beyond both language and the Pleasure Principle.
The premise of the film presents two coinciding events which happened during the summer of 2014. While the Soccer World Cup was ongoing, a violent conflict between Israel and Gaza, one of many in recent years, has erupted. The attention of the public was divided between the soccer games and the Gaza war. Almost a normal part of Israeli life, the unique intensity of both overlapping events, as well as the overlap itself, can perhaps only be observable by looking awry.
Soccer games and wars are both models which champion nationality and a sense of belonging. They share the same elements with religion, the ego and the self, and can be used to sublimate people’s subjective and sexual desires. In forging these different forms of Jouissance together, this film depicts a journey of a character searching hopelessly for one moment of truly being – just being.
The protagonist, a young actress who lives in France, returns to her home country of Israel, in an uncanny (Unheimliche) experience as a visitor to a place which is simultaneously both familiar and foreign. My identity as an Israeli and an American, has affected the way I observe everyday reality in Israel. The conflict between those two identities was also implemented in the script, as the main character struggles to find her place between an Israeli and foreign belonging.
Most of the movie was filmed in the city of Jerusalem, where the conflict is manifested on a daily basis. In making Jouissance, we were striving to capture reality, people and notions as they truly happened. It was important to us to film on an actual location, with real people, merging documentary with fiction on one frame.
This film was produced with the support of Beit Berl College Faculty of Arts, Hamidrasha and The New Israeli Fund for Cinema and Television.