The First Zionist Bunny

A handful of contestants in bikinis and high heels compete for the coveted role of the first Israeli Playboy Channel hostess. The winner, Noga Shahar, an unassuming kibbutznik and granddaughter of Zionist pioneers, is a surprising choice among the other contestants--aspiring actresses and models, a transsexual, a not-quite-18- year-old girl and a schoolteacher of Arabic. Shahar, who agrees with Hugh Hefner that "the major sex organ in the body is the brain," is a self-described "exact opposite of what you’d expect from a Playboy bunny" at least in physical terms. She is sexy and smart, but is she smarter than the Playboy marketing machine, a smoke-and-mirrors producer of images selling fantasies to a pop-culture driven Israeli society? The film tracks the many pressures of competition: How much will the women reveal both physically and emotionally, and how well can they cope with the relentless examinations of their bodies and personalities? The women’s opinionated families are also drawn into the mix, some supportive, some opposing the high-profile spotlight into which their daughters have chosen to stride. And in the back rooms of the Playboy Channel, the decision making process exposes the ice-cold calculations that go into creating the next hottie. The film displays its share of flesh, but also raises questions: Just what does it take to become a sex symbol in Israel today? In a country where women have long been soldiers and prime ministers, is being a Playboy Channel hostess the ultimate post-feminist success? Could it possibly be part of the Zionist dream?
w/English Subtitle
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