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Rec Room: Meakin Armstrong: Jellyfish

May 7, 2010

A dreamy, circuitous work, Jellyfish reminds one of the independent films of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when producers were willing to take risks on cinematic oddities.


meakin_armstrong-small.jpgIn the U.S., Israeli writer Etgar Keret is known for his short stories—especially those gathered in his 2006 collection, The Nimrod Flipout. He’s also been published in a variety of literary magazines ( including Guernica) but in other parts of the world, he’s highly regarded for his film work. He’s a screenwriter (see his excellent $9.99 , a work in claymation) and has written a great deal for Israeli television, especially sketch comedy.

Keret has also co-directed (along with his wife) the Cannes Camera d’Or prize-winning film, Jellyfish (or in Hebrew, Meduzot). Keret has said that he came to direct the film because no one else would—his wife wrote the script and when he was shopping it around, he was surprised when the studios said it was unfilmable. A dreamy, circuitous work, Jellyfish reminds one of the independent films of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when producers were willing to take risks on cinematic oddities.

Jellyfish has no real plot, not in the typical, commercial sense—it tells the story of three women—a server in a restaurant who finds an abandoned little girl at the beach; a newlywed with a broken leg; an immigrant worker who deeply misses her young son back home. Sometimes these women’s lives intersect; at other times, they fly off into unreality.

It’s a strange little movie, but Jellyfish is always gentle and beautiful, never ugly. It’s melancholic, but in love with the world and its magic.


Bio: Meakin Armstrong is Guernica’s fiction editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @meakinarmstrong.

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