Predicated on the spectacle of functionally depressed types stuck in mildly ridiculous situations not entirely of their own making, the Israeli ensemble comedy Jellyfish — which won the Caméra d’Or last May at Cannes — has an emotional resonance beyond its controlled slapstick and deadpan sight gags.
Jellyfish is the second Keret movie to play New York in the past six months. Opening here late last year, Wristcutters: A Love Story, adapted by Goran Dukic from Keret’s 1998 novella Kneller’s Happy Campers, gave full vent to the writer’s obsession with suicide. Although a short and not unduly sweet 78 minutes, Jellyfish is more expansive — it manages to touch on all of life’s passages, as if that’s all there were. An Israeli movie with neither politics nor religion — and only one casual, if fraught, mention of the Holocaust — bespeaks an underlying desire for normality that’s as poignant and fantastic as Keret and Geffen’s modest, shabby Tel Aviv settings.
JELLYFISH | Directed by ETGAR KERET and SHIRA GEFFEN | Written by GEFFEN | Produced by AMIR HAREL, AYELET KAIT, YAËL FOGIEL and LAETITIA GONZALEZ | Released by Zeitgeist Films | Sunset 5, Town Center 5, One Colorado
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