Amir Harel

Amir Harel

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Jellyfish Review


OK
Like figures in a Robert Altman film left too long in the sun, and who possibly never had that much going on upstairs to begin with, the characters of Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen's Jellyfish wander about and go missing in their own lives, eventually washing up on the Tel Aviv beach like the silent hulks of dead jellyfish scattered across the sands. There's action and episode here, but little purpose or necessity, just people trying to find their way in a world that baffles them with its willful obtuseness, and more often than not, gets them lost in the process. Everything comes back to the sea.

With the only real connective tissue among them being the grey and somewhat mournful Mediterranean and a certain cluelessness about their lives, the three women whose stories constitute Jellyfish seem specialists in not getting what they want. The most painful to behold is Batya (Sarah Adler), a dizzy-headed and recently-dumped young woman who waitresses at a wedding reception hall and always seems on the verge of getting fired. (And who could blame her? It's the kind of place that requires waitresses to wear bachelorette party-style tiaras while working.) Unable to connect with her father, a clueless old fool with a nervous anorexic of a new girlfriend who's about Batya's age, or her mother, who's too busy organizing charity functions to pay much attention to her child, Batya only seems to focus when she finds herself the unwitting guardian of a nameless and mute young girl (Nikol Leidman) who seemed literally to wash up on the beach.

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The Komediant Review


OK
The rich tradition of Jewish entertainment is explored through a slice of family life in this affectionate depiction of changing times. A portrayal that extends through several decades and continents, The Komediant is a well-rounded historical record of the Burnstein clan, a famous vaudeville act whose genesis sprang from rebellion when Pesach'ke Burstein left his Orthodox home in a quest to become an actor.

To get as complete of picture as possible of the theatrical lifestyle at the time, interviews with the remaining Burnstein family members are mixed with those of their peers and archival footage from their more popular shows. The various discussions and images provide an eclectic glimpse into the past, along with the interesting journey of just how the Burnsteins managed to carve themselves a piece of spotlight.

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Yossi & Jagger Review


Good
Clocking in at just 61 minutes (not counting the credits), Yossi & Jagger is a short story of a movie. In fact, if you remember your college literature class, you may detect just a touch of Herman Melville's Billy Budd in this brief but moving story of a handsome and magnetic young soldier disrupting the daily grind of his tightly knit troop.

The routine is boring but exhausting at an Israeli army outpost atop a snowy mountain along the Lebanese border. The dozen or so soldiers in the dilapidated camp do little more then go out on practice ambushes and dig trenches. There's plenty of time left over for joking with the cook, dancing in the barracks with the beautiful young women who also serve, and letting petty jealousies simmer.

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Walk On Water Review


OK
Read about Walk on Water, and it's hard not to be impressed with the subjects it examines, which range from homophobia to the Middle Eastern social climate. Watching the movie is another story.

The movie's main character is Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi), a stoic killer who works for the Israeli government. Though he is still excellent at his job, he's having personal problems. Sensing that he needs some time to regain his footing, Eyal's boss assigns him to find an elderly Nazi officer. Eyal dismisses the assignment as unnecessary -- the officer is close to death -- but his boss is adamant: "I want to get him before God does." The Nazi's whereabouts are unknown, but his adult grandchildren are in Israel. Pia (Caroline Peters) is working on a kibbutz, and her schoolteacher brother Axel (Knut Berger) is visiting from Berlin. Eyal poses as Axel's tour guide, while the recording device in Pia's dorm covers what he misses.

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