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500,000 Black (1977)

Hamesh Ma'ot Elef Shahor (original title)
| Drama
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Credited cast:
Jacques Cohen
Shaike Ophir
Joseph Shiloach
Esther Zewko ...
(as Esther Zebco)
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Mediterranean Chicago comedy
28 April 2006 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

What if a Chicago gangster story was taking place in Israel-1977? This feature is just the one. Two comedians borrow 500,000 Israeli pounds (about US$ 90,000 of 1977) from an entrepreneur who launders the mafia money via his night club. What do they want to stage with such a budget? No less than a musical "Awaiting Godo". Needless to say their show has no success, the mafia wants the money back, and the heroes have to run and hide (though unlikely to an American gangster story, in the feature it takes 1 hour screen time between doing the wrong thing and having to escape to Latin America).

During their escape they find an unexpected secured place - an African refugee home with mysterious music and healthy food, the very African Hebrews community famous for their musical performances. The movie features famous Israeli actors Yosef Shiloah and Zeev Revah (the Bourekas films). And, as a Mediterranean comedy, this feature is full of scheming, talking heads, situational gags, cross-cultural jibes, and mistaken identities. A quote must be noticed: "-Who is Godo? -Must be a mafia boss" In one scene a hero tells his friend: "We are not in Chicago", thus indicating that the authors had had the parallel in mind. Israel in the 1970s was a spectacular jazz stage. The soundtrack features a rich spectrum of Mediterranean music, jazz, funk, and ethnic funk performed by Israeli artists including an on-stage appearance of the African Hebrews. This is a Mediterranean comedy classic, maybe less straight, picturesque and dense than "Snooker", "Officer Azulay" and "Eskimo Lemon". On the bottom line it is a nice family movie.


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