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  • Ilan Shaul of the Hebrew weekly ANASHIM has a good take on the title, which means "jellyfish." Like jellyfish, the film's characters do not control their direction but are pushed here and there by chance; and like jellyfish, they mindlessly sting.

    Dostoevsky-- at least according to one of the characters-- could get his writing done anywhere; nothing distracted him. In MEDUZOT, it sometimes seems impossible that anyone could ever get anything done, so strong are the buffetings of happenstance. MEDUZOT tells a zigzag story in which human frailty and persistent mischance raise a new obstacle every moment as the characters carom about in Tel Aviv losing their sleep, their jobs, their lovers. The movie is propelled by its characters' Keatonesque dauntlessness as they bumble through one unpredictable absurdity after another, sometimes involving a failed attempt at good will and sometimes involving obtuse representatives of the established order such as the uncaring landlord, the glittering philanthropist, and the moronic avant-garde theater. The humor of exaggeration and absurdity that characterizes Etgar Keret's short stories is evident here, though he takes credit only as director. Water-- the sea, the rain, the ceiling leak-- is a nemesis, but it also holds the promise of rebirth.
  • This is a loosely woven story about different people who all live in the same city, and occasionally cross paths, but do not know each other. The stories of the individual characters at first seem ordinary, but there are hidden insights into their lives that are touching. An elfin from the ocean adds an unresolved aspect.

    Does it matter that the protagonist barely has a roof over her head, while her publicity-seeking mother champions the cause of the homeless? Does it matter that parents and offspring misunderstand each other, or worse, are apathetic? Does it matter that the elfin with the float ring mysteriously appears and disappears. Life itself is this way, rarely neat and tidy.

    To those who like a film to be obvious with its message and linear with its storyline, this film will disappoint. To others who are willing to just watch and float along, this movie will have you enjoying it long after the closing credits have rolled. Definitely a film to talk about!
  • This film is an elegant, simply told, and uplifting look at ordinary life. Although it relates the problems of the cast of main characters at different stages in their various lives, it does so with many small touches of humour, which lifts the mood along the way. Above all, expect a good, tight, literary script, which manages to weave together the disparate story lines to make a convincing whole. I saw this at the Dublin Film Festival, and I hope very strongly that it makes it to general release in Ireland and the UK. There are a lot of inferior art-house films which get distributed because they have big names behind them. However, Jellyfish, I think, shows you can have the serious and thoughtful, but in a lighter package.
  • This film is showing at the Maine Jewish Film Festival in April and I was fortunate enough to see it early. The film is a unique offering from Israel where you do not often see poetic films like this. The acting is excellent, too. The story may be a bit abstract for some and others may think it is a bit derivative. But all art derives from life or reflections of life and this film is a wonderful look into the lives of these women and a mysterious little nymph from the ocean who wears a float ring. Well worth the awards garnered so far: Cannes Film Festival,Bratislava International Film Festival, and Israeli film Academy. A movie worth seeking out!
  • Meduzot (2007) is an Israeli film written and co-directed by Shira Geffen. (The other co- director is Etgar Keret.) The film was shown in the U.S. with the title "Jellyfish."

    Sarah Adler plays Batia, a fine person, but possibly the world's worst waitress. One day, at the seashore, a young girl drifts to shore, buoyed by a small plastic doughnut-shaped tube, and walks up to Batia. This little girl, played by Nikol Leidman, never speaks. We know she exists, because at one point she and Batia are in a police station, and the detective sees her too. However, that's all we know about her. Ms. Leidman is either completely guileless, or she's the best actor in the film. Her solemn, wide-eyed gaze is riveting.

    Several other characters interact in the film--a Filipino nurse who has been forced to emigrate without her young son, a brother and sister and their sick mother, and a newly wedded bride who has broken her leg on her wedding day.

    I enjoyed the movie because it was about ordinary people living ordinary lives--no soldiers, no explosions, no violent confrontations. The acting was uniformly excellent, and I was caught up in the film from beginning to end. It's worth seeing and worth seeking out. It will probably work well on DVD--most of the action is intimate and doesn't require a large screen. This film was shown at the excellent Rochester High Falls International Film Festival.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just saw this movie on Sundance Channel. Maybe my opinion is unique, but I think this movie is about how we all experience and deal with abandonment in life. Batia, abandoned by her parents from childhood, has in effect even abandoned herself. She sees herself in the mystery child, alone and unable to communicate. When the child disappears, did the child abandon her or did she abandon the child by yelling? As she grapples with the dilemma, she faces her own childhood disappointment which she describes to a friend in the memory of an ice cream man on the beach. In the poignant scene Batia says, "They promised he'd come back." The friend reassures, "Don't worry, he's always around." I think in the end, her friend and the child help Batia to heal and finally feel secure about drifting through the great sea of life.

    In the second story, will the bride and groom abandon one another when marriage, like their tiny hotel room, is uncomfortable and feels confining, or will they learn to expand in their appreciation for one another and grow even closer? I disagree with the GOOFS section because of what must have been said in the unseen part of the story where Keren explains on why they must go downstairs. I think he knew full well when the handwriting changed because at that point he handed over the paper as he acknowledges there is more to his new wife than he realized. Together they gaze at the sea contemplating.

    Lastly, Joy watches as parents are abandoned by children and children abandon their parents. All she can think of is crossing the ocean to get back to her little boy.

    I loved this movie! Maybe I healed a little bit in watching it.
  • moimoichan61 October 2007
    NICE : As Paul Thomas Anderson with "Magnolia", Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen chose with "Meduzot" to focus on a few characters that life randomly carries from one shore to another. Everything is tainted by a depressive but amusing tone that gives a pleasant melancholia feeling to the spectator. The fact that the story happens in Tel-Aviv does't seem to affect the lightness of this unpretentious movie, that only wants to underline the loneliness every human being faces in his life and give a little touch of hope to this sad fact.

    EASY : As Agnès Jaoui in "Le Goût des autres", Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen don't avoid in "Meduzot" some very easy and predictable critics, especially when it comes to give a satirical look on the artistic world of theater of the city. They also can't avoid some "Shortcuts" in the portrayal of their characters, and especially in the depiction of the angry - but at the end nice and well... just lonely - old lady. This two elements spoil a little bit the pleasure you can get to the pleasant little scenes the film offer.
  • I went to see this because I'd never seen Tel-Aviv, where the story is set. I was disappointed, since it doesn't offer many views of Israel's largest metropolis. It's also pretentious—one of those movies that leaves you guessing at its meaning until you ultimately give up with a shrug of the shoulders.

    The main protagonist is Batya, a woman in her twenties' who works as a waitress at catered weddings. Her parents evidently don't care about her very much, and when a little girl walks out of the sea with an inflatable ring around her, Batya feels compelled to take care of her. The little girl doesn't speak, and Batya can't give her to social services because it's the weekend and the agency is closed. So she takes her back to her apartment with the leaky roof, and when it comes time to work in the evening, she has to take the little girl with her. The boss is very unhappy about this and other shortcomings in Batya's work performance.

    Another main character is Keren, who is getting married. At her wedding party (where Batya is of course working), she breaks her leg climbing out of a ladies' room cubicle whose door won't open, and so she and her new husband cannot take the Caribbean vacation they've planned. They end up in a dingy hotel on the seafront without a view. It smells bad, there is noise from the traffic, and Keren is complaining all the time. Her husband meets a strangely attractive older woman – a writer – who is also staying in the hotel, and Keren worries that he has slept with this stranger.

    The third main character is a Filipino woman named Joy who looks after old people. The old woman she is hired to care for is very crabby and speaks no English, only German and Hebrew. Joy speaks English but no Hebrew or German. Joy is mostly concerned with how her son is doing back in the Philippines, and wants to buy him a toy boat, as he has asked. She finds the perfect boat in a store and plans to buy it. The daughter of the old woman, who hired Joy, is an actress appearing in some sort of post-modern "physical theater" adaptation of Hamlet, and does not get along with her mother.

    The way in which these three stories—which intersect momentarily—resolve themselves is presumably supposed to mean something profound. I didn't get it. There is a fantasy element to Batya's relationship with the little girl, and maybe Batya's non-existent relationship with her parents is somehow inverted in this relationship. When Joy sees the toy boat in the shop window, there is a strange effect used where the little sails billow as if blown by the wind, and they do this as if they are on the scale of a real-life ship. Keren draws the outline of a bottle around a ship that is on a brochure cover in the hotel room, and a narration of the strange woman's poetry mentions a ship in a bottle. But what does all this mean? I thought about it for a while and realized I wasn't going to lose any sleep in the process. If anyone out there has a clear idea of what it's all about, maybe they can fill me in.
  • When the film started I got the feeling this was going to be something special. The acting and camera work were undoubtedly good. I also liked the characters and could have grown to empathise with them. The film had a good atmosphere and there was a hint of fantasy.

    However, as the film went on, the plot never appeared to takeoff and just rolled on scene by scene. I was unable to understand the connection between the stories. All I could see was the characters occasionally bumping into each other and references to ships in bottles. Without that connection, I was just left with a few unremarkable short stories.

    Am surprised it did so well at Cannes
  • lksun-898-1877516 November 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    The movie has a multi-layered plot rich with symbolism. The elfin from the sea, who refuses to take off her float ring, is a jellyfish, which somehow symbolizes unfulfilled childhood wishes. The corporate strong woman, or politician, whose appearances on TV and posters punctuate the movie, laments nowadays parents fail to give their children anything. The main character Batya, while she was a child, had a deep craving for ice-cream while on the beach but the ice-cream man was turned away by her mother. The jellyfish elfin shows Batya a photo album with only one picture in it, and it is the ice-cream man on the beach, with a breeze blowing his shirt (as it moves on the photo). When the mysterious poetess, who has given up her suite to the honeymooners, commits suicide, the groom Michael finds a dead jellyfish under his feet on the beach. The jellyfish imagery is aquatic, as the poetess refers to a ship in the bottle, sealed up and not feeling any wind and thus stagnant. The Filipino domestic helper, Joy, wants to buy a large ship model for her son back home. When for the second time she gazes at the toy boat in the shop's display window, a magical effect appears: the little sails are fed by the wind, as if a real-life ship is on high sea—a little stirring of real life, like the ice-cream man's shirt catching a breeze in the photo? A third time in front of the shop, she finds it sold and becomes very much dejected, only to find it in her employer Malka's living room, meant as a gift to her. So, Joy is the only one that succeeds in giving her child something. The parent-child disappointment is not a one-way traffic, as Malka's daughter who hires the Filipino helper Joy to take care of her aging mother tries to win some acclaim to her performance in Hamlet, and all she gets from her mother is: "You lied on the floor half of the time, and uttering words that are not understandable even to people on stage!" At the end of the movie, the actress lady stares from the street resentfully through the window as her mother Malka embraces Joy inside the house.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Poetic" is both literal and in the cinematic context. The film, part of it at least, takes such an airy, insubstantial, poetic flow. Towards the end, there is really a poem, echoing circumstances of unexpected pathos.

    This Israeli cinematic gem, because of its structure, is often compared to "Crash". Less known "Coeure" (2006) would have been an equally good comparison, as well as a few others. What makes Jellyfish unique however is that it does not go to the length of these other films in weaving a complex tapestry of the component stories. The three stories in Jellyfish are so casually linked that there may very well be no links. This is good. Over-complicated plots often distract from the essence of the stories, obscuring some of their beauty.

    Nor does Jellyfish pound the emotions of the audience the way many of these other films did. When the people in this film exhibit their emotions, they are nonchalantly low-key. Again, this is good. This leaves the audience more room to ponder and reflect, both during the film and afterwards.

    The "main" story, if there is one, evolves around a gentle, unassuming young women - vicissitudes and flawed relationships in that part of her life to which we are allowed a brief glimpse. This is also the most surreal of the three stories, because the interaction with a mysterious little girl who materializes out of the waves at the beach. This triggers shreds and patches that are open to interpretation, such as the young woman's reflection of her own childhood. A secondary character in this segment is another young woman, a photographer who befriends the protagonist and helps when the mysterious little girl goes missing.

    The second story, on the contrary, is solidly real. It evolves around a young Pilipino domestic helper in Tel Aviv, with as the key motif her telephone calls, usually in a street corner booth, to her 5-year-old child back home. The other two key characters in this segment are her employers, mother and daughter: an invalid and strong-headed old women and an actress who is so wrapped up with her theatre career to spend time caring for her mother.

    The final story starts with an accident during a wedding, when the bride's broken ankle wrecks the planned honeymoon cruise. In a crummy local hotel (albeit still at a beach) that is a most unsatisfactory substitute, a mysterious woman enters that part of the young couple's life, stirring disturbing undercurrents of emotion. It is from this mysterious woman, purportedly a writer, that the poetry comes.

    While I have left out a lot of details and other characters, it can be seen just from the much simplified synopsis what a great variety of emotional avenues the directors can tread down. It is to the credit of Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret that they resisted the temptation of going overboard with the material and wisely kept the film to 87 minutes. Going top-heavy into any of these emotional avenues would have ruined this film. They have wisely pass up a stormy symphony for a nonchalant tone poem. For that, they have been rewarded last year with the Cannes Camera d'Or for best first film.
  • Am I the only one that sees thru this crap? Lets start with the title - The big metaphor her - Jellyfish - drifting away, taken by the currents which carries them away as it pleases, like the "characters" in the film. GIVE ME A BREAK, I would be ashamed to submit this to my literature teacher at 9th grade in high-school. No (real) deeper meaning, no prose, the dialogue is very unauthentic, the stories inter-cut in random and meaningless ways and do not create a whole which is bigger than its parts. Heavy handed, edits and artificial framing that draw attention to themselves, and a long take that screams "I'm a long take, look at me!" Bad lighting and sound design. So the mother was a bad mother to her daughter, whose apartment is flooded, and is busy fund-raising to the homeless and poor while her daughter is homeless herself. Wow that's what I call deep irony - not.
  • Nikol Leidman is spectacular. Near the beginning of Meduzot, she plays a 5-year-old girl who walks out of the Mediterranean Sea onto a Tel Aviv beach wearing a flotation device around her waist. She may as well be naked. She doesn't speak but her wide-open and captivating eyes convey all that needs to be said.

    The girl befriends Batia, a 20-something woman with family problems, a job she hates, and a forgotten past. Social rules don't apply to Batia and the girl, as even the police don't place missing children on their list of priorities.

    One day, Batia literally runs into Joy, a Filipino woman who speaks English but is learning Hebrew while freelancing as a caregiver. Joy tries to help Malka recover from a hospital stay but Malka appears mean but that's only because of her relationship with her daughter. Nothing's what it seems.

    The hospital where Malka stayed is also where Keren was treated after she slammed her leg into the bathroom floor when trying to climb over a locked toilet stall on her wedding night. She and her new husband Michael stay at the famous Dan Hotel but the only beach-facing suite is taken by a mysterious woman who is writing a novel. Or is she? Walking out of the movie theater, I thought a lot about Meduzot and the translucent nature of jellyfish. The husband-and-wife filmmakers could have provided extra footage and explained more connections between the characters and put questions to rest with who the girl from the sea really is, but why spoil anything? I liked it fine the way it was.
  • As much as I have admired what films that Isreal has produced (at least what I have seen,so far), I figured, there's bound to be a least one clunker in the batch. I have to admit, Jellyfish (or as it is known in Isreal as Meduzot)suffers from one too many unresolved plot lines. One plot line is a young woman who finds a nameless young girl who follows her around after a day at the beach. Another is a pair of newlyweds who seem to have a rash of bad luck on their wedding day. There are at least a couple of other plot lines, that don't even attempt at any kind of cohesive whole. The acting seems to be on the mark, but I just couldn't find any kind of narrative thread to hold it all together. Hava Nagila, indeed.
  • johnderek23 January 2010
    only if its the last thing yo do and your humour is evaporated should you ever attempt to watch this. If you do, watch it alone invite no one, they will never return to watch another movie with you. It might be an excellent tool for that very purpose, invite people you want to get rid of in your life.

    Apparently I need to write more about his film in order to qualify as a review. This is sweet irony for this film it really does sum it up perfectly. after wasting my time it wastes more of your time. IT does have a function I take it all back.

    I recommend this film, watch it, its provocative, really go ahead watch it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are an increasingly impressive number of films coming from Israel and MEDUZOT (JELLYFISH) is one of the more creative works of cinematic art in that rich catalogue. Shira Geffen (who also wrote the screenplay) and Etgar Keret collaborated on this seemingly small film and from a few threads of separate and disparate characterizations have woven a fascinating and deeply touching montage of the lives of several people whose destinies curiously intersect. The manner in which the film is presented is a graceful mixture of naturalism and fantasy and the directors know just how to combine the two approaches to maximum effect.

    The film opens in Tel Aviv at a routine wedding reception where untidy Batya (Sarah Adler) works as a waitress, her life being recently shaken by the dissolution of her relationship. At this noisy and gaudy reception we also notice the bride Keren (Noa Knoller) who encounters an accident in the washroom that results in a broken leg requiring a cast and preventing her from a planned honeymoon (her new husband Michael - Gera Sandler - finds instead a hotel on the noisy boulevard which is less than romantic), and Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre), a Filipino caregiver for older unwanted women who works to send support to her young son in the Philippines, and a young female photographer who captures it all on film. The owner of the catering business fires Batya and the photographer and the two share living space. While musing on the beach Batya finds a strange young mute girl (Nicol Leidman) wearing a circular floating device and when Batya cannot find the girl's parents she resorts to police help - a turn which only places Batya as custodian of the strange child.

    Meanwhile Keren and Michael begin their disastrous honeymoon in the noisy hotel, discovering that the quiet top floor suite is occupied by a single woman poet whom Michael meets and eventually requests they trade rooms, a decision that leads to strange circumstances that affect all three people. And during this time Joy is passed among several older women, ending up with a cranky mother of an actress who speaks only Hebrew and German and takes her time growing into the kindness Joy offers her. Small incidents continue to occur, incidents that bind these people together in mysterious ways, some happy, some sad. And while the characters of this tapestry are very realistically drawn, there are moments of magical realism that embroider their lives with a glowing sense of fantasy - moments that address the topics of childhood memories, core needs, death, and that universal need to connect to others. This is a delicate work of crocheted art that remains in the mind long after the credits of this gifted cast and production crew complete the film. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Grady Harp
  • The director is sweet, as is his co-directing wife Shira Geffen, but their movie sucks. It has its moments (and some pretty girls), but there is too much of everything: "Amélie" meets "Breaking the waves" meets "Pauline at the beach". You walk away wanting to know more about the wedding photographer, and about the girl who likes it best when nothing happens, be it in movies or in real life. Instead, you get a suicidal writer, a neurotic actress and an illegal-immigrant-come-social-worker with a heart of gold. It feels like there's more than one truly touching story hidden in the script, but at face value it's a truckload of wasted story lines and sentimental bullshit. Hard to sit out as it is.
  • Jellyfish, for all its generous spirit and life-affirming moments, doesn't shy away from the little absurdities that inundates everyday existence. Even in the same frame there is a glow amid the isolation and personal embitterment. An unbearable lightness that cannot help but expose the chalky hands of fate. Those who have ever asked in exhaustion, "why me?" can find a lot to love about this little Israeli import.

    The film is told through a hyperlink narrative. Though its themes are much more ethereal than those of Traffic (2000) or New Year's Eve (2011). That and the narratives don't so much interlock as they migrate towards and away from each other. We follow the progression of three struggling women adrift in noisy Tel Aviv, vexing over life's ennui. While doing so, the women cross paths, barely glimpsing each other's existential angst.

    The first women is the young Batya (Adler). She's a sullen, ineffectual banquet hall waitress, struggling to keep her job and an apartment that's slowly falling apart. Meanwhile her divorced, working professional parents all but ignore the warning signs of her mounting depression, brought about when her boyfriend leaves her. Unexpectedly, while trying to relax at the beach, a mute child (Leidman), freckled and wet, appears like a vision. She tries to find out to whom the child belongs to, to no avail.

    The second woman of our story is newlywed Keren (Knoller) whose Caribbean honeymoon has been botched by a faulty bathroom stall. Her ankle now broken, she tries to make the best of a worsening situation, by following her husband Michael (Sandler) to an aging sea side hotel in town. It is there that Michael meets an attractive writer (Albeck) whose femme fatale allure threatens the strength of their new marriage.

    The third woman is a Filipino caretaker named Joy (De LaTorre). Joy tries and repeatedly fails to connect with her employer (Harifai) whose tersely shouts in Hebrew and German, neither of which Joy speaks. She pines to have her son with her, vainly communicating with him through short collect calls and promises of gifts and visits.

    A common motif that permeates all three stories is that of water. Joy is mesmerized by a toy boat she wants to get her son, while Keren complains that they're a short walk from the beach yet can't see the sea. She also begins to write a poem, wistfully equating her feelings of isolation to that of a ship in a glass. Finally there's Batya whose discovery of the child on the beach, unlocks dormant traumas that include her parents arguing as the young Batya drifts out to sea in an inflatable tube. Could the water represent transition and the possibility of renewal? Perhaps yes, perhaps not.

    The magical realism that seeps into the lacquered grooves of this film brings with it occasionally irksome subjectivity that's nearly impossible to decode. This film doesn't hold your hand but rather lets you explore the serendipity of Jellyfish's world through the eyes of three women who are dulled by constant misfortune. Some may find their woes pedestrian and cloying, especially considering the film is Israeli and completely ignores political realities. Yet choosing characters that exhibit the incessant, hard to describe hum of anxiety and depression gives the film both a timelessness and a universality. In the end, there's solace in the arms of others; a lesson that those quietly suffering would be wise to heed.

    While occasionally stodgy, Jellyfish doesn't wear out its welcome, finding just enough pulp in the stories while reveling in some art- house expressions and compositions. The subjectivity of its framework works in its favor to deliver a film that can be read in many ways, including being a frank and effective meditation on depression. It does all this without being showy or overly pretentious but instead lingering on the deflation of character expectations, before rewarding its audience with small but meaningful victories.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is my interpretation to the lower layer of the movie: Batia, whose parents abandoned her when she was a child, abandoned herself too within all the stress and loneliness of life in the big city. The sea shore is the place in which Batia is reconnecting with herself. The small child coming out of the sea symbolizes "Batia the child". Batia goes out for a journey of self search after this small child (herself). At the end, she finds herself, leave the small child at the bottom of the sea and reborn from the water to a new life.

    Other characters in the movie have their own parallel plot lines of trying to survive in the loneliness and alienation of the big city. They seek love but the people around them rarely notice their existence. The different characters briefly cross each other in different points during the movie, but the alienation breaks only at the end of the movie.

    After I saw the movie, I felt there is a lesson to it – not to abandon ourselves just because others abandoned us, reach to other people around us.
  • Not quite sure how to describe this movie other than it captures the daily frustrations of Israeli life and the mystery that can befuddle anyone in their daily life, young or old.

    All movies normally have a bit of glass between the viewer and the actors/actresses. This movie seems to dissolve that. A very strange phenomenon. But you feel more connected to the people on the screen. Like they are right before you. The only exception would be those moments that seem like dream sequences, but are all too real... or rather surreal.

    I started out watching this movie to pick up a little bit of hebrew and soak up some of the sights of Tel Aviv. I am happy that I did. The scenes are very accurate. I especially liked one scene involving a taxi driver, a cat and some other key details that will amuse anyone who has spent time in Israel.

    I got much more from this and plan to bring this movie to my parents house for mother's day. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I did.
  • crosslit-340016 April 2018
    The female heart is shared through four, perhaps five female roles, and a token male. I say token because, perhaps like in the lives of all women as they compete with one another yet strive mutually for acceptance, men can often be little more than an accessory. Here the hopes, pains, and disappointments of wives, mothers, daughters, and career women are shared in a very poetic and imaginative way. Wonderful cinemoatography. The use of setting is especially effective.