Saturday, December 15, 2007

Made in Israel


Made in Israel; Thriller comedy, Israel, 2001; D: Ari Folman, S: Menashe Noy, Jenya Dodina, Jürgen Holtz, Sasson Gabai, Igor Mirkurbanov, Dror Keren, Tzahi Grad, Joe El Dror, Lior Glazer

Egon Schultz, an 82-year old last living Nazi in the world, gets handed over to the Israeli authorities in the Golan heights. At the same time, the rich Hoffman is afraid the government might free Schultz due to bureaucracy and engages Russian assassin Vitali to capture the Nazi and bring him to some hill. Vitali and his girlfriend Dodo pick up the troubadour Eddie in their car and go on to search for Schultz. They also discover Hoffman also hired two other assassins, Perach and Tiktak, who wound Vitali. When Schultz begs the police to let him take a bath in the lake of Galilee, Perach and Tiktak panic and kidnap him, while Vitali shoots all of the police officers. He also later on shoots Perach and Tiktak, but gets stuck in a mine field. Dodo and Eddie free Schultz.

Amusing film "Made in Israel" meanders somewhere between comedy of absurd and bitter drama, Tarantino and Jarmusch, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch", while maintaining the original tone in it's unusual story about a wild goose chase after the oldest living Nazi in the world in Israel mostly thanks to the skill of director Ari Folman, even though there are some discrepancies present that carry a certain degree of a flawed touch that will not satisfy some viewers. The opening shots set up a great mood for the film - filmed in slow motion, a figure emerges from a thick fog, turning out to be the 82-year old Nazi Schultz getting handed over to the Israeli police, accompanied with mad sounds of sirens and owls - namely a surreal tone enriched with beautiful landscapes cowered with snow and wide angle camera lens that intensifies the impression, contemplating about the sense for right and wrong. Already in the next scene there is the next punchline since it seems Folman has a cynical sense for humor - namely, the Russian assassin Vitali is summoned to some hotel room where he meets the rich Hoffman who is angry that the Israeli government might let Schultz go due to lack of evidence, stating how he wonders how after the Holocaust "in the last 50 years some Jew didn't take a machine gun and gun down 200 Germans somewhere in Frankfurt or Munich", then even adding a new dimension of black humor when he summons his little daughter, who was playing some video game in which she shot someone, and asks her: "How many Nazis have you killed today?" and she says: "228". There is a lack of a tighter message or sense in the film, but it's very finely made and actress Jenya Dodina is simply irresistibly cute as the Russian female assassin Doda.

Grade:++

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