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Free Zone

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There were no fake sobs or glycerine tears in the seven-minute opening shot of Natalie Portman weeping in extreme close-up. She clearly brought the pain to this Israeli road picture about two women — a heartbroken American student (Jerusalem-born Portman) and a no-nonsense chauffeur (Hanna Laslo) — who bully and cajole their way across Middle Eastern borders. But the ham-fisted allegory about clashing cultures gets bogged down by its good intentions and woe-is-us speechifying in Free Zone. EXTRAS A sleep-inducing radio interview with director Amos Gitai. B-