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Anton 'Klin' Ostrovsky,
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"The World Is Funny" has been running for several weeks now, so I guess it is even good enough to overcome a deceptive title. I can easily imagine audiences expecting something like a globe-hopping candid camera movie, but on the contrary the writer-director emphasizes that he is fictionally portraying the one little town of Tiberias and its particular eccentrics, and not always in a rib-tickling way at all. A device linking some of the characters is a story-writing class, and as a device it rings somewhat artificial, but I suppose that putting so many characters and relationships into two hours must require a little squeezing and shortcutting. Probably nothing can convey to non-Israeli viewers the cultural standing of the Gashashim, a trio who were to comedy and Tiberias in Israel what the Beatles were elsewhere to music and Liverpool. The title "The World Is Funny" comes from a catchphrase of the Gashashim, and a veteran of the trio is involved in one of the movie's subplots, playing himself and explaining to an ever-hopeful fan that now that one of the three has passed away, there will never be another performance. The many plot threads, amusing and tear-jerking by turn, mostly coalesce into the story of a single family and enlist the audience's sympathy despite the occasional creak of artificiality. The writer-director's love for Tiberias comes through-- perhaps more clearly than anything concrete distinguishing Tiberias from other towns, but it's an old principle that by concentrating conscientiously on something in particular the artist winds up touching on what's universal.
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