It’s never easy being the odd duck out, especially in high school. More so when that high school is a religious girls boarding school. And even more so, when your burgeoning interest in the opposite sex is frowned upon by the social mores of the school.
In “Why Does the Sun” Maayan is a young teenage girl in a Jewish religious girls boarding school situated on a kibbutz. She doesn’t seem to fit in, neither at home nor with her peers. It is only when she meets a young man working the fields of the kibbutz does she find a kindred spirit. He too is an outsider. But this relationship, which begins innocently, is frowned upon by the powers that be.
“Why Does the Sun” takes advantage of its on location filming to show off the lush natural beauty of the kibbutz, using it as a metaphor for the developing relationship between these two young people. The wide open shots contrasting the single figure of her crossing the vastness of the agricultural fields of the kibbutz, serves to highlight her loneliness among immutable forces. While their meetings in the intimacy of the orchard are mirrored with her lack of privacy in the dormitory.
It is telling that they meet in the orchard while picking fruit, as there is a particularly “enlightening” scene (it’s your choice whether to see it as hilarious or mortifying), where the teacher uses a piece of fruit to explain to the girls about their bodies and how they should be protecting it. (I have it on good authority from friends who attended a similar type of school, that this scene is highly accurate). And it is this conservative mindset that Maayan rebels against.