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Meduzot (the Hebrew word for Jellyfish) tells the story of three very different Israeli women living in Tel Aviv whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. Batya, a catering waitress, takes in a young child apparently abandoned at a local beach. Batya is one of the servers at the wedding reception of Keren, a young bride who breaks her leg in trying to escape from a locked toilet stall, which ruins her chance at a romantic honeymoon in the Caribbean. One of the guests is Joy, a Philippine chore woman attending the event with her employer, and who doesn't speak any Hebrew (she communicates mainly in English), and who is guilt-ridden after having left her young son behind in the Philippines. Written by
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 pretentiousone 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 storieswhich intersect momentarilyresolve 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.
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