An adaptation of a popular Israeli stage musical. Kazablan is an army veteran turned gang leader in the Israeli port of Jaffa who masks his feelings of bitterness with a lot of bravado. He's sweet on Rachel, a young woman who lives with her father and stepmother. The budding relationship scandalizes the neighbors (not to mention Rachel's parents) and infuriates Yanush, a middle-aged shoe store owner who wants Rachel for himself. (Yanush feels he's entitled to marry Rachel since they're both Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern European origins, whereas Kazablan is a Sephardic Jew from Morocco.) The neighborhood has something else to worry about besides the antics of Kazablan and his gang: the city wants to tear down their crumbling homes. The residents pool their resources to save their houses, but the money that's collected is stolen. When he's jailed for the theft, Kazablan must find a way to clear himself. Written by
Eugene Kim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Kazablan" is, simply put, a film that runs more closely akin to a dream sequence or rapid visual/audio/sensory montage than a linear-constructed primarily plot-driven piece. In some respects, the camera's tendency to wander almost randomly to various individuals, locales, and scenarios somewhat resembles a Monty Python "The Meaning of Life" form. (Although certainly no comparison, beyond the superficial visual image, is being promoted.)
To differentiate the quality of performances of the actors is irrelevant in a film with "Kazablan"'s qualities; certainly, the acting is respectable, but the characters are nearly all background to the foreground of the Israeli surroundings' atmosphere. (More specifically, very noticeably 1970's Israel.) In addition, the mood is sustained very well throughout the picture.
The intriguing question is simply, What is this film truly about? Is it a coming-of-age story for a young man disenchanted with his post-military service life? Or is it an anti-prejudice statement, albeit a simplistic and superficial one? Ultimately, as discussed earlier, such plot contrivences (to the credit of the filmmakers; they certainly made the correct decision not to overplay certain obvious stances the movie does indeed adopt), are unimportant in "Kazablan."
Once again, it is a "mood" film, or a film abundant with atmosphere -- and it should be treated as such. Any attempt to impart a diagectic quality on the part of the viewer is a clear error. ("Kazablan" is not, however, a slice-of-life picture. For an excellent example of such a film [and also to compare the overt differences between a slice-of-life and a mood movie], view "Nobody's Fool," the 1994 piece starring Paul Newman, Melanie Griffith, and Bruce Willis.) Simply watch Kazablan with one objective: Relaxation.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?