Saturday, March 21, 2009

Meduzot (Jellyfish)

Took me almost two years but finally I was able to watch the Camera D’Or 2007 Cannes winner and it’s a truly mesmerizing movie with words like magic, fantastic, unique, poetic, high art, and extraordinary describing this outstanding movie by Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret.

Basically tells the story of three women and the stories are intertwined with inconsequential meetings of the characters; but all starts at a wedding that the three women attend. Batia (Sarah Adler) is a lousy waitress, Keren (Noa Knoller) is marrying Michael and Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre) is there taking care of an elder women. From the wedding we will see how Batia finds the little girl (magical Nikol Leidman) and her past becomes aware only to allow her to start trusting people again. Keren will find that probably everything she was expecting from married life was not as she imagined and in a magical/surreal twist she will learn to trust her husband and herself. Joy a Philippine elderly caretaker misses her son back in the Philippines, but when she has to take care of the touching others incapable German old lady, joy will really arrive to Joy’s life.

This is a truly magical, yet very ordinary, women stories as not only the lead characters are women but also the secondary characters. But what also this story has outstandingly different from regular Israel cinema is that does not touch any of the country past and present conflicts, just deals with the ordinary lives of women in a not often seen Tel Aviv. Truly refreshing.

Cinematography is above outstanding and directors storytelling technique is really unique as plays with each woman story like a “jumping” bean, showing small clips from each woman -like narrative confetti-, but what is amazing is that easily you will decipher each confetti piece and complete one puzzle; in the end you will feel so uplifted with this very enjoyable narrative and visual poetic voyage. Performances are truly compelling from all lead and secondary actors, really great ensemble cast.

As mentioned the movie was premiered at the 2007 Cannes in the International Critics’ Week and won the Camera D’Or given to first time directors, but also won the SACD Screenwriting Award an the Very Young Critic Award. Since then the film has been honored in many festivals and awards, winning the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2007 Bratislava fest, Best Film at the 2008 Uruguay fest, Opera Prima Award at 2008 b-est fest and was in competition in other world festivals. Also had 10 nominations at the 2007 Israel Film Academy Awards.

I believe that this is one art movie that can be accessible to wider audiences that enjoy women stories told in the most unusual way. But you have to at least like non-commercial European cinema.

I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen as the story captivated me, but the amazing images mostly dealing with water are fabulous. Then I am one that truly believes that the little girl was a jellyfish… but according to the directors, the jellyfish is an image to floating in life with no specific direction, until you end up in the beach. I add that jellyfish can painfully “burn” humans and well, this is one aspect that was not really touched in this movie.

Anyway, this is a truly beautiful movie to watch!


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