Jellyfish

Overview

Israeli co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen's ensemble comedy drama Meduzot aka Jellyfish, 2007 weaves together multiple seriocomic tales of intersecting lives, set against the deep azure backdrop of Middle Eastern seascapes. Affording equal emphasis to each tale, Keret and Geffen first hone in on Batya Sarah Adler, a young woman employed as a caterer, whose firm places strongest emphasis on weddings. As the film opens, Batya breaks up with her boyfriend, and struggles with her supremely dysfunctional, ...
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Overview

Israeli co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen's ensemble comedy drama Meduzot aka Jellyfish, 2007 weaves together multiple seriocomic tales of intersecting lives, set against the deep azure backdrop of Middle Eastern seascapes. Affording equal emphasis to each tale, Keret and Geffen first hone in on Batya Sarah Adler, a young woman employed as a caterer, whose firm places strongest emphasis on weddings. As the film opens, Batya breaks up with her boyfriend, and struggles with her supremely dysfunctional, argumentative parents, who correspond with her only by leaving periodic messages on her answering machine. Her life takes a most unpredictable turn when she happens upon a tearstained little girl Nikol Leidman who wanders out of the ocean, wearing only a pair of panties and toting an inner tube -- origin unknown. The foundling gravitates magnetically to Batya and refuses to separate from her. Meanwhile, at Batya's latest assignment -- the Hebrew wedding of Michael Gera Sandler and Keren Noa Knoller -- the gorgeous bride breaks a leg while attempting to escape from a locked toilet, thus inevitably delaying her honeymoon in the Caribbean. Also present at the wedding reception is a Filipino caregiver, Joy Ma-nenita De Latorre, saddled with an array of grouchy, snotty elderly clients who make verbal barbs in Hebrew that she cannot understand. In her private life, Joy struggles with geographical estrangement from her young son -- who still resides in the Philippines -- and remains completely aware of the irony that she's caring for nonfamilial dependents but virtually abandoning her own flesh and blood. And in yet another substory, Malka Zaharira Harifai, one of Joy's octogenarian clients, gripes and moans about her own actress daughter's participation in an "experimental" version of Hamlet but demonstrates her own ability to reassure and encourage Joy. The ocean -- recurrent throughout the picture -- adds an allegorical layer to the proceedings; in the hands of Keret and Geffen, it symbolizes the narrative juggle of multiple lives, and the lack of self-determinism inherent in any -- the idea that all are wholly subject to the caprices of fate.
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Special Features

New anamorphic master, enhanced for widescreen televisions; Video interview with filmmakers Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen; U.S. theatrical trailer; Filmmaker statement
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
At its heart, Jellyfish is a film about love, but romance barely enters into the picture. Instead, Jellyfish concerns itself with the way people can lift each other up and drag each other down, sometimes without actually trying -- husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children, even strangers -- and how complex the business of caring for someone else can be, no matter how simple it all seems on the surface. Filmmakers Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen juggle several stories at once in this movie -- a young woman is put in charge of a lost child who then goes missing, a freshly married couple sets off for the honeymoon from hell after she breaks her leg at their wedding reception, a busy actress hires a woman to take care of her cranky, aging mother -- but rather that tie all the narrative elements together, they allow the various stories to each follow their own course, and they instead cohere emotionally, in a casual but quietly decisive manner that strengthens and intensifies the broad range of emotions on display. Jellyfish starts out light and witty, and in its early reels it feels more like a comedy than anything else, especially during the wedding reception sequence, with many questionable nuptial fashion choices on display and plenty of awkward familial interaction. But by the midway point, the film has started to evolve into something with a great deal more dramatic weight, and thankfully Keret and Geffen guide the film with grace and skill through its tricky emotional journey, and the cast is capable of playing the film's humor just as accurately as the heavier stuff in the final reels. Sarah Adler is a charming cipher as Batya, the catering server who becomes our guide to much of the story, and Gera Sandler and Noa Knoller offer a funny but telling portrait of a young married couple whose first days together are not going as they had planned. While Zaharira Harifai and Ma-nenita De Latorre have largely thankless roles as an ailing and ill-tempered elderly woman and the Philippine immigrant hired to look after her, both are able to bring a welcome depth to characters that could easily have been clichés especially De Latorre, who skillfully underplays her telephone conversations with her young son at home, not overstating emotions that are expressed with measured clarity. Antoine Heberle's camerawork gives the images an unobtrusive beauty that doesn't overwhelm the workaday settings, and at a speedy 78 minutes, Keret and Geffen keep their tale short, sweet and to the point, knowing not to wear out their welcome. Their sure hand is all the more impressive when you consider that this is only Keret's second directorial credit, and Geffen's first. Jellyfish doesn't tell us a great deal that's new about the hard work of loving someone else, but this fable is constructed with enough skill and compassion that it manages to appeal to the eye, the heart, and the mind with equal resonance, and it's a modest triumph for two rising Israel filmmakers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/30/2008
  • UPC: 795975110730
  • Original Release: 2007
  • Rating:

  • Source: Zeitgeist Films
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:18:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 17,944

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sarah Adler Batya
Nikol Leidman Girl, The Little Girl
Gera Sandler Michael
Noa Knoller Keren
Ma-nenita De Latorre Joy
Zharira Charifai Malka
Bruria Albeck Relly
Naama Nissim Naomi
Illanit Ben Yaakov Galia
Technical Credits
Shira Geffen Director, Screenwriter
Etgar Keret Director
Aviv Aldema Sound/Sound Designer
Li Alembik Costumes/Costume Designer
Christopher Bowen Score Composer
Avi Fahima Production Designer
Yaël Fogiel Producer
Sasha Franklin Editor
François Gedigier Editor
Laetitia Gonzalez Producer
Amir Harel Producer
Antoine Héberlé Cinematographer
Gregoire Hetzel Score Composer
Olivier Dô Húu Sound/Sound Designer
Olivier Dô Hùu Sound/Sound Designer
Ayelet Kait Producer
Esther Kling Casting
Gil Toren Sound/Sound Designer
Paolo Trotta Asst. Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Jellyfish
1. The Wedding [5:39]
2. Not As Planned [5:59]
3. Out of the Sea [7:28]
4. Secrets [7:14]
5. Missing [5:02]
6. Suiteless [8:21]
7. Poetry & Super-8 [10:18]
8. Head Injury [9:48]
9. Flooded [7:46]
10. Ice Cream [6:33]
11. End Credits [3:49]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Jellyfish
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Subtitles
      English: On
      English: Off
   Special Features
      Filmmakers Interview
      U.S. Theatrical Trailer
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