Jellyfish

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    Jellyfish

    Meduzot

    Directed by

    • Etgar Keret, Shira Geffen

    France, Israel

    2007

    78 min

    • English
    • German
    • Hebrew

    Drama

    From the director of A Screw presented at Paris Project 2011

    Meduzot (the Hebrew word for Jellyfish) tells the story of three very different Israeli women living in Tel Aviv whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. Batya, a catering waitress, takes in a young child apparently abandoned at a local beach. Batya is one of the servers at the wedding reception of Keren, a young bride who breaks her leg in trying to escape from a locked toilet stall, which ruins her chance at a romantic honeymoon in the Caribbean. One of the guests is Joy, a Philippine chore woman attending the event with her employer, and who doesn't speak any Hebrew (she communicates mainly in English), and who is guilt-ridden after having left her young son behind in the Philippines.

    Awards

    • Caméra d'Or, Cannes Film Festival

    Credits

    Cast
    Sarah Adler
    Nikol Leidman
    Gera Sandler
    Noa Knoller
    Ma-nenita De Latorre
    Zaharira Harifai
    Screenplay
    Shira Geffen
    Cinematography
    Antoine Héberlé
    Editing
    Sascha Franklin
    François Gédigier
    Music
    Christopher Bowen
    Grégoire Hetzel

    Director's Statement

    We are two Israeli artists who have lived most of our lives in Tel Aviv. Consequently, making the sea the main protagonist of our debut feature seemed a logical step. The reality of Israel is so dense, so charged with violence, with suspicion and ideological intolerance, that the sea has become for many Israelis, a place of refuge, a place of shelter and comfort. This is because the sea is free, the only territory within the land of Israel where people can just be as they are and not be constrained by things such as a passport and social status.
    The film is structured around several stories. The sea provides a common denominator, a collective subconscious, a space in which each of the characters can come face to face with himself or herself. Each of the main strands works as a different facet of a similar state of being - a different aspect of a single overriding mood of existential loneliness, steeped in the unrequited need for affection and communication.
    These people need a medium through which to express and convey their feelings. Malika hugs Joy, the foreign-born domestic, in order to reach her own daughter, Galia. Michael discovers the desires and needs of his new bride through a suicide note left by a stranger he briefly encountered in a hotel. Batya is able to confront her own history through the intermediary of a lost child, a girl encountered on the beach.
    The setting is Tel Aviv but this is not the ordinary Tel Aviv we know. Great care has been taken in framing the city in order to shift usual perceptions of place such as they are conveyed in most Israeli films.
    Like a ship in a bottle, this over familiar city has been displaced, moved into a different context in order to generate new emotional parameters.
    The characters are under the illusion that they can design their own destinies. But the reality is that they wander like jellyfish, without being able to exercise any form of control over their lives, shunted here and there by mysterious, submarine currents that hail from a distant post - traumatic or all too stereotypical events they may have experienced long ago.
    In the end, some will overcome the forces that determine their lives. They will make their way down to the water’s edge. And for just one short moment they will manage to stand upright in a place that is bright and true...and full of hope.

    Sales
    PYRAMIDE INTERNATIONAL
    Production
    LAMA FILMS
    Production
    LES FILMS DU POISSON

    Press

    A magical glow! Altogether charming! The film’s spirit is refreshingly playful!

    A.O. Scott, The New York Times

    ENDEARING! UNIQUE! Another triumph for Israel, strongly represented on the Croisette this year.

    Variety

    Alienation and spiritual generosity co-exist side by side in this marvelous work.

    Entertainment Today

    Intensely personal...Poetic...Each scene’s beauty is a deliberate testimony to the ephemerality of life.

    The Forward

    Shira Geffen

    Shira Geffen

    Israel

    What interests me is the difference between the person people think you are and who you really are, and how society uses you to be who it wants you to be.

    Shira Geffen, born in 1971 in Israel, is a playwright, director, children’s autor, and actress. She studied at the Nissan Nativ Drama Studio and has performed at the Habimah National Theater as well as at the Cameri and Khan Theaters. She was awarded on her children’s book writing a First Prize at the Haifa Childrens Drama Festival in1998 and the Hadassah Prize in 2003.

    Selected Filmography

    Etgar Keret

    Etgar Keret

    Israel

    Born in Tel Aviv in 1967, Etgar Keret is one of Israel’s most acclaimed contemporary authors. His books, which are bestsellers in Israel, have also received international acclaim and have been published in 22 languages.
    His collection The Nimrod Flipout was chosen by the L.A. Times and the Boston Phoenix as one of the best books of 2006. In 2007 he was shortlisted for “the world’s richest short story award”, the Frank O’Connor prize, for his collection Missing Kissinger. In Israel he has received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize several times, as well as the Prime Minister’s Prize, and the Ministry of Culture’s Cinema Prize.
    Over 40 short films have been based on his stories. The upcoming American independent feature film Wristcutters: A Love Story, which premiered at Sundance, was adapted from his novella Kneller’s Happy Campers.
    As a filmmaker himself, Keret’s first short film Skin Deep (1996, 40 mins) won prizes at several international film festivals, and was awarded an Israeli Oscar.
    Jellyfish is his first feature film as a director. As well as winning the Camera D’Or at Cannes he and his partner Shira Geffen won the Best Director Award from the French Artists and Writers’ Guild.
    Keret is also a lecturer in the film department at Tel Aviv University. Bibliography