Sometimes an entire book isn’t enough to capture the essence of a character. Directors will often struggle to convey all that they had hoped to communicate in a feature-length film. That’s why the Israeli web series Pillow Talk is so remarkable; each episode is just a few lines of dialogue, with a runtime of at most 90 seconds, and it still manages to put forward compelling ideas about relationships and communication.
The series depicts the drama that arises from nothing more than a single conversation in bed. The weekly installments—there are currently 12—all follow the same couple and are titled after the issue the couple explores, such as “Monogamy,” “Vulnerability,” and “Loneliness.” Creators Ezra Ani and Micah Smith get their message across with brevity. Aesthetically, the show is kept simple, with a minimally-decorated bedroom, a subdued color palette, and no quick cutaways to different camera angles.
The vignettes are reminiscent of early High Maintenance episodes, in the sense that they are exactly as long as they need to be. Unbound by traditional broadcast rules, Web creators are free to produce content their own way, leading to some really original and formula-breaking series in the last couple of years.
An excellent showcase for the talents displayed in Pillow Talk is the 10th episode (“Proximity”) in which the pair lies in bed, one right next to the other, engrossed with their phone screens and not uttering a word. The 40-second clip ends with them powering down their devices, rolling over, and saying goodnight. Take a look:
Interestingly, the two actors—Elya Yerushalmy and co-creator Ani— are always credited as “HIM” and “HER,” reinforcing the idea that the characters are universal archetypes. It’s this relatability that makes the series so great. Take a look at the comments section to find viewers tagging their significant others, proof that these situations are familiar to all. Smith, who directs each episode, is an observant Jew and is married with four children. Ani, who writes the episodes, is single. “Yet the series speaks deeply to us both,” Smith told me over email. “You see the result of that in our followers … they are a very broad group.”
With the series heading to September’s Austin Revolution Film Festival (and already nominated for four awards there), Pillow Talk is poised to find a big audience. Check out their Facebook page to watch more. The entire collection will take you under 10 minutes!