The Beetle (2007) is described in the publicity from the distributor as a documentary comedy. I would describe it as a romp around Jerusalem and Jordan, a personal documentary, a road movie, a film woven around the story of the filmmaker’s VW car – and around his wife’s pregnancy and the birth of their first child. This is a Jerusalem mosaic about people, places, a young couple, and the history of their car.
Film director Yishai Orian is a long-haired easy-going fellow, very attached to his car. He researches its history from its early manufacture during the Nazi period to its import to Israel in large numbers as part of the controversial German reparations. He meets all of the prior owners of his particular beetle – a couple whose young daughter died of cancer -- she loved the car; a man whose father left Israel in anger and disgust when he discovered that the car he was driving was not made in Belgium as he had been reassured by the Israeli authorities but rather in Germany; a local lyricist who was once locked out of the car at Massada and ever since kept a spare key inside the headlight – the key was still there today!
The filmmaker travels to Jordan to have his decaying car refurbished – and this is also the story of the Arabs that he meets and the friendships that he builds around the car. The film has a certain amount of unfolding drama, mixing the personal with the stories of the people he meets.
I really recommend this one. Not about any specific topic, but certainly an enjoyable story about Jerusalemites, their memories and their quirks!
Available from Ruth Diskin Films at http://www.ruthfilms.com/