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Sergio Konstanza, a Swindler, owes money to Mr. Hasson. He escapes to the desert where he joins a wacky army reserve unit whose Sergeant is engaged to one of Mr. Hasson's Daughters.Written by
Yishay Lehman <email@example.com>
The sociological significance of fishing in the desert
Some European film connoisseur, browsing thru the IMDB looking for delectable foreign fare, might be misled by the 10's heaped upon this movie to believe that he has chanced upon an undiscovered gem. Well, this movie is in some ways more reminiscent of Ed Wood than of Goudard or Felini. It's a pretty bad movie, shot in a couple of weeks, on a shoe-string budget, by a director who was at the time derided as the inept maker of low-brow comedies ("Burekas movies").
"Giv'at Chalfon" was created as a vehicle for Ha'gashash Ha'chiver- from the '60 thru the '80 known as the funniest people in Israel. On stage these three guys were magic- but the magic of those 10-minute sketches never translated to the several feature films they starred in. "Chalfon" is the closest they came to that- but my feeling is that any non-Israeli watching this will be dumb-struck at the apparent inanity of it all (some nice sexy bits in it, though!). Only an Israeli would crack up at hearing "Sha'a! Kvar Sha'a she'ani mechapes et ha'yam!" It sounds even worse when translated: "An hour! For an hour I have been looking for the sea!" Or how about this following exchange: "Golani?" "Gamasi!" not to mention "BBSHASH" or "Le'Sergio panita- lo ta'ita!" Take my word for it- generations of Israeli's have been having fits at hearing those and other tidbits.
There is no plot, no acting to speak of, the only prop is a sand dune, and you hate it when people are having loud fun around you at a language you don't understand (and when you read the translation it sounds so horribly stupid you are starting to doubt your sanity); Why should anyone want see this movie? Well, I think you at least shouldn't - unless you happen to be a sociologist / anthropologist / political scientist.
"Givat chalfon" was created at a very special point in Israeli history- it was 1975, a year after the trauma of the Yom-Kippur war. More and more people were waking up from the dreams of empire, the army was no longer a sacred cow, and blind trust in the military and political leadership was dead. It was a time of upheaval - and who was better fit than Assi Dayan, son of former hero / current pariah General Moshe Dayan, to deliver the killing blow.
The son of the ultimate Sabra icon, he was a rebel from an early age, refusing to to follow in his father's footsteps. At a time when Israel was infatuated with its image as the blue-eyed, blond boy-wonder of the western world, Assi Dayan was making low-budget, low-brow movies about low-life losers on the edges of Israeli society. "Givat Chalfon" was much more subversive; it takes place in a front out-post of the legendary Israeli army, facing the terrible "enemy"- and look who is manning it: a smarmy, mustachioed con-man who speaks with a Rumanian accent; An Arab-born knuckle-head, who is interested in getting his money back, in finding a husband for his daughter and in finding the sea and fish for "the guys"- when he is captured by the Egyptians he is happy to start reminiscing about the charms of Cairo; The captain is a sex-crazed incompetent, the cook is a snarling bully, the rest of the soliders are a motley crew of sun-struck zombies; the visiting colonel is a handsome joke, and his adjutant a sex-starved vixen. The only "normal" figure here is the
straight-laced sargent who is played for laughs, trying to keep some military facade on it all- including his girl friend, who spends most of the movie running around the so-called military installation in a bikini, with the occasional belly-dance thrown in. All great fun, actually- and also a not-so-subtle poke at any notions of military and cultural superiority over our neighbors.
Why do I love this movie? Well, it's funny - Ha'gashsh Ha'chiver were always that. But it is also a remnant of an Israel that is no more- of a country that was starting to get off its high horse,setting on the road to normality, while managing to keep its sense of community, the ability to laugh at the same things- be they as semi-dumb and shoddily executed as "Givat Chalfon Eyna Ona".
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