Following a just broke-up woman searching for support, a visiting Filipina worker struggling with the language and even harder to reach her son back home, an injured newlywed and an embittered grandma (amongst others), Jellyfish uses dream sequences and a couple surrealist ploys to get at the random connections between all these characters, and the interconnections lost.
Director Etgar Keret has a surprisingly deft touch with the material, lending a calm hand to a jumpy, gleefully discombobulated story and showing off Tel Aviv’s bright sandy beach walks and hectic urban interior. While the film doesn’t necessarily cohere 100 percent (as might be expected in a tale of serendipitous misconnection), there are still emotional peaks and, as opposed to a French malaise, a great deal of Israeli matter-of-factness and “oh-well-life-goes-on” charm.
The central image of the jellyfish is apt; if you look from afar this film is graceful and effortless, if you want to touch you might get stung by the loosely barbed ends. Beware.
Jellyfish releases in select theaters April 25.