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JellyfishReview - Jellyfish
DVD
by Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen (filmmakers)
Zeitgeist Films, 2008
Review by Christian Perring
Dec 9th 2008 (Volume 12, Issue 50)

Jellyfish shows a side of modern Israel that will be unfamiliar to most viewers. It follows several women, whose paths cross over a period of a few days.  Batya is a young woman whose boyfriend has just left her; she works as a server in a hall where wedding receptions are held, but she is at risk of losing her job.  Her mother is a celebrity who is organizing a nationwide charity event, but Batya can't talk to her about her life.  When she is on the beach, an ethereal little girl comes up to her and adopts her.  The second woman is Keren, who injures her ankle at her wedding, so she and her husband stay at a local hotel, but they are not happy there, and it looks like their marriage is in trouble from the start.  Her husband befriends an enigmatic female writer who is staying in a penthouse suite, and Keren is jealous, partly because she secretly a writer herself.  Joy is an immigrant from the Philippines trying to earn some money to send back home, but she misses her young son terribly.  Her main employment is to care for old dying women.  But she gets a job looking after a spirited older woman whose daughter can't look after her because she is appearing in a play.  This is a short film at 78 minutes, and the script is nicely written, with the three women's lives meshing with each other cleverly.  Each women is battling with life, seemingly unable to achieve her dreams.  Batya is especially preoccupied with the past and her relationship with her parents, and the little girl seems like an imaginary figure representing her childhood self, except that other people see her too.  The cinematography is especially strong, right from the start, when Batya and her boyfriend are saying their goodbyes in front of a swimming-pool blue background, which turns out to be a truck that drives off revealing a drab city street.  This is a rewarding film with many touching moments, and an unusual surrealist thread woven into the realism of the rest of the plot.  It's a little gem.  

 

© 2008 Christian Perring

 

 

 

 

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.


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