Friday, August 29, 2008

Jellyfish (ISRAELI) DVD


DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Serendipitous Feminist Adventure from Israel Released on DVD

Some of the most intriguing, feminist dramas continue to come from Israel, including this surreal adventure which whimsically intertwines the lives of several women whose paths crisscross in present-day Tel Aviv. The fulcrum of the plot is provided by the plight of heartsick Batya (Sarah Adler), a waitress working at the wedding of Karen (Noa Knoller) and Michael (Gera Sandler).

Just past the point of departure, the couple’s plans for a Caribbean honeymoon are ruined when the bride accidentally breaks her ankle. So, they opt to take a room right on the ground floor of the beachfront hotel hosting their reception.

Elsewhere, we find Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre), a Filipino nurse missing her five year-old son she had to leave behind in Manila. It doesn’t help any that although she asked for a childcare assignment, her agency hired her out to Malka (Zaharira Harifai), an elderly woman who is not only grouchy, but bigoted to boot. Despite Joy’s exhibiting the patience of a saint, Malka would prefer to live with her daughter, an actress busily preparing to appear in a production of Hamlet directed by an Arab.

These assorted threads are woven together ever so subtly via the meanderings of Batya, a forlorn soul who besides being left by her boyfriend has had the rent recently raised on her dilapidated apartment. The carefree slacker reacts by drinking water dripping from a hole in the ceiling, and by adopting a naked, freckle-faced, five year-old (Nikol Leidman) she finds frolicking alone along the Mediterranean shore.

Always of more consequence here than the give-and-take of any of the superficial personal dramas are the complicated cultural and psychological issues simmering just under the surface. Like Amelie with an attitude, the sinister Jellyfish links strangers serendipitously, but with an almost shocking absence of naivete.

Excellent (4 stars)


In Hebrew, French and English with subtitles.

Running time: 78 minutes

Studio: Zeitgeist Films

DVD Extras: New anamorphic master enhanced for widescreen TVs, video interview with filmmakers Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, filmmaker statement, plus the U.S. theatrical trailer.

To see a trailer for Jellyfish, visit:

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