Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

A Quiet Desperation: Characters long for connection in “Ha’har.”

Tzvia (Shani Klein) is a soft-spoken, pleasant woman who lives with her husband and four children next to a cemetery atop the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It is not a very fulfilled life that she lives.

It is a point of embarrassment that they, an Orthodox Jewish family, live so close to the cemetery, but Tzvia’s husband, Reuven (Avshalom Polak), who spends the majority of his time away at work, doesn’t seem too concerned.

He comes home late most nights to eat dinner and sleep—and sometimes not even that—leaving Tzvia with little adult contact except the connections she seeks on the mountain. Every day, she sends her children off to school and bides the time until they come home by meandering through the cemetery, occasionally stopping to talk to the gravedigger, Abed (Hitham Omari), a concerning prospect, since he is a man and not of the Jewish faith.

As Tzvia begins to realize how lonely she is, she ventures out into the cemetery at night, discovering a group of prostitutes and their male patrons amongst the tombstones. The unsavory company does not inhibit her visits, however, and, in fact, prompts her to begin making soup for them.

The film may be as quiet as Tzvia is, but its story speaks volumes. Each character has much to tell the world despite the few words they each say. Each moment is intentional, each event holding weight throughout the span of the film. Klein breaks our heart with her desperation for companionship, and the plot slowly becomes more and more upsetting as it unravels.

“Ha’har” plays as a part of the Edward S. Finkelstein Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St., Harrisburg, May 10 to 17. For more information, visit


Jewish Film Festival
May 10 to 17
Schedule available at

Down in Front!
“Red Hook” (2009)
Friday, May 11, 9:30 p.m.

Mother’s Month Series
“Psycho” (1960)
Sunday, May 13, 7:30 p.m.

“Serial Mom” (1994)
Friday, May 18, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 19, 12 p.m. (#BringtheBaby)

“Mommie Dearest” (1981)
Tuesday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.

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