In "Bethlehem," Israel's submission to the recent
Tsahi Halevy carries himself with a mournful, in-over-his-head demeanor as Razi, an officer in Israel's secret service who's trying to prevent an impending suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Teenage informant Sanfur (Shadi Mar'i) is a crucial resource; his older brother, who heads a militant faction, is a man the Israelis have been trying to lure out of hiding.
Complicating the cat-and-mouse maneuvers is Razi's connection to — or personal investment in — the boy. While his colleagues view Sanfur as an increasingly out-of-control "asset," Razi feels protective toward him. Sanfur, alternately grateful and resentful, is less easy to read. Whether informant or double agent, he's torn between loyalty and self-interest. On home turf, he's essentially a kid caught between gangs, whatever their ties to political movements.
Adler and co-screenwriter Ali Waked throw in references to
"Bethlehem." No MPAA rating; in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes. In limited release.