The Poker Widows
The Poker Widows
Production: Germany 2012
Genre: Creative Documentary – Human Interest
Content: A documentary about age, passion and poker game
Format: 56 Minuten/ HD
Director: Ronen Abas
Camera: Talia “Tulik” Galon
Sound: Sharon Luzon, Magnus Pflüger
Editor: Sari Ezouz
Creative Producer: Jan Rooschüz
Producer: Michael Truckenbrodt
Initial Broadcast: 12.02.2012, 22:55 Uhr / ZDF/Arte
A group of eight elderly widows in Haifa, Israel, meet daily to gamble their money in a high stakes ongoing poker game. Their “Society” was formed around 35 years ago. Each is a tough gambler. No man has ever been allowed to join.
Out of loyalty to the late husband none of the women has remarried. The group has become a substitute in providing comfort, keeping them safe from breaking their own code of conduct. The game, once their symbol of freedom and emancipation, has become their only choice and partner. The only man around them is Victor, their taxi driver for years, whom they all eye fondly.
Filmmaker Ronen Abas Rao is son of SARA(76), one of the women. He spent many of his sleepless childhood nights watching them play and has followed their history since a young age.
Gathered around the card table, OLGA (78), KOCHAVA (77), SARA (76) and STELLA (82) lose themselves in the world of the game, forgetting their losses and the pains of their long lives. Their tensed concentration is frequently interrupted by cries of anger, joy, frustration and at times a song or a joke.
The table is where they live at night. In daytime we look at their lives and relationships with each other and their families. We join KOCHAVA, a high society girl in younger days and still dressing up for each game as if she was going to a party, on a trip down memory lane visiting her huge wardrobe. OLGA’s playing habits got excessive. She challenges the foundation of their society by playing illegal bingo at night – and she speaks often to her dead husband. SARA is the organizing motor behind the group; she always dreamt to become an actress and finds in the group a stage and substitute for her unfulfilled wish. STELLA got a wheelchair and a broken relationship with her daughter. She got thrown out of the group because she lost all her money. She fears to lose her society, too.
One round of cards after the other their life stories unfold, revealing complex and paradoxical relationships with each other and the society they live in. The widows walk a thin line between love and hate, friendship and rivalry, dictated by gain and loss. Each day anew they’re trying to win a game they already lost years ago.
A group of destiny, welded together by unrealized dreams and lost loved ones: they cannot live with and they cannot live without each other.