Outfest Reviewing: Joe + Belle

Outfest Reviewing: Joe + Belle
Preston Max Allen

Veronica Kedar has something to be proud of. Not only is she the star of Joe + Belle - a pleasantly quirky little indie from Israel - she’s also the writer, director and producer. There’s something very charming about Joe + Belle. The characters are unusual but sympathetic, the plot is simple but entertaining and there’s some lovely comedic undertones that keep it from getting too dramatic.

Here’s the gist of it: basically, Joe is a young drug dealer who comes home to find Belle, a suicidal mental patient, in her bathtub. Belle, who’s more than a little loopy, follows Joe around and the two form an unlikely relationship which is made quite complicated after Belle somewhat accidentally murders Joe’s ex-boyfriend.

David Wojnarowicz was a painter, writer, photographer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist who famously wore a jacket to the FDA action by ACT UP that said, “IF I DIE OF AIDS – FORGET BURIAL – JUST DROP MY BODY ON THE STEPS OF THE F.D.A.”

Sivan Levy is adorably kooky as Belle and her chemistry with Kedan’s cold but ultimately caring Joe is the film’s highest point, even though the circumstances around it seem a bit rushed. A subplot about Joe’s frenemy Abigail (Romi Aboulafia), who happens to have been sleeping with Joe’s now dead ex, works its way nicely into the plot in a without distracting from the two leads. 

Joe + Belle isn’t exactly realistic, but it does make one fun little love story, not to mention it has one rather catchy soundtrack. The Israeli setting adds a whole other level of intrigue - especially if you, like me, enjoy getting a taste of other cultures. Joe + Belle is definitely worth checking out, and I now look forward to what Kedar has in store for us next. 

Joe + Belle will premiere in the US during Outfest at the Lammle Sunset 5 on Sunday July 10th at 7:15 pm. Get more information on the July 10th screening here, and visit the Joe + Belle website.

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