TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding



Yael Bartana, Yuval Aharoni

Israel, France


2016. Oren, a handsome tourist guide in Jerusalem’s Old City and former Shin Beit agent, is expecting a baby, but Anna, his wife, has just miscarried for the fifth time. Devastated, they decide to take a break. Anna returns to Berlin, her birth place. Oren stays behind, when Samira, a Palestinian woman for whose death he is responsible, appears. He is haunted. The dead Samira comes alive along with scars from his past. She becomes part of his everyday life, occupying his body and mind. He is trapped, possessed, out of control. Strange symptoms take over his body. Physicians and therapists fail him. When Anna returns, he is a changed man. Oren confesses his involvement in Samira’s death. Overwhelmed and confused, Anna tries to help him. They go to an exorcist but the ritual ends at the hospital where they discover what happened to Oren’s body: he is pregnant. Oren is losing his identity. Despite their fears for the future, they decide to keep the baby and embark on a thrilling journey.


"Samira" is a surrealist drama. It delves into the core issues and themes that have been the driving force of my personal and professional life: reflecting on mythology, national and gender identity. In this film, Israel- Palestine becomes a laboratory in which I investigate these universal issues in the local setting.

My film is a modern Dybbuk tale, it tells the story of Oren, a privileged man possessed by the spirit of Samira, a Palestinian woman who died under his watch. This possession results in Oren’s pregnancy, which shatters his identity as a man, taking him on a new path into a future where gender and politics are undermined. This intimate journey of a pregnant man, haunted by a dead woman’s spirit, allows the characters to experience different modes of identification, transition and liberation.

With surrealist film tradition as my inspiration, I will use the film’s montage to add an element of alienation and dictate the narrative. I want the film to transgress the power relations between men and women, and I hope that this story will trigger the viewers to question the familiar gender roles by suggesting other options.


A former Israeli security agent possessed by the spirit of a Palestinian women discovers he is pregnant.
Yael Bartana

Film Director

Yuval Aharoni

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

directed by
Yael Bartana

produced byKinoElektron
1/3 rue d'Enghien
75010, Paris

written by
Yael Bartana
Yuval Aharoni