(2007) dir. Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret
Jellyfish is an Israeli film, written and do-directed by Shira Geffen and co-directed by her husband, writer Etgar Keret. It’s not something that I would normally have necessarily stumbled on, but earlier this year I did stumble upon Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), directed by Goran Dukic, which was adapted from a short story by Keret, and it sparked a brief exploration of the writer. I read his latest collection of stories, The Girl on the Fridge: Stories, but I didn’t really like it. For some reason, and maybe it’s just one of those situations in which once you notice something, like Keret, you suddenly see him everywhere. And so I’ve been curious about Jellyfish.
It’s an off-beat film, with elements of magical realism, and an occasional drift into the surreal, but mostly it’s a film about three of four young women in Tel Aviv, whose lives intersect more than once, though on fairly superficial ways. Each is in their own zone of reality. One is a waitress who discovers a lost child on a beach, another is a just-married woman who is dissatisfied constantly, and the third is a Filipina woman who speaks no Hebrew and is working as a caregiver to the elderly and unkind.
I liked the film well-enough. The stories each have their elements and for a while, it’s a little hard to see where it’s all going. With a running time of 78 minutes or something, its brevity plays well with its light touch on some more serious elements, death, love, loneliness.
What the proverbial Jellyfish is, even though one does show up on the beach, I can’t really say that I get what that symbolizes or means, which in the case of this film, is a little annoying. But this film’s light-weight magic might work more for others better than it did for me.