Hunting Elephants, directed by Reshef Levy, was the opening event at the Jerusalem Film Festival last week. This is Levy's second feature film -- the first was Lost Islands (previously reviewed on this blog).
Hunting Elephants is a comedy about a bank robbery. Four people decide to rob a Jerusalem bank -- a 12-year-old boy looking for revenge against the bank where his father worked and died, his grandfather, his grandfather's sex-crazed best friend -- both of whom live in an old age home in Jerusalem -- and an eccentric British lord who has recently arrived. The Brit (played by Sir Patrick Steward, known for his role as Star Trek's Captain Picard) is a failed Shakespearean actor and has come to Jerusalem to scavenge what's still available of his dying sister's possessions.
These oldsters are still caught up in their memories of the period of the British Mandate -- the boy's grandfather was a member of a Jewish terrorist organization at that time and he married the love of his life, the daughter of the British chief of police. His wife, who is also the sister of the aging and down-and-out British lord, is lying in a coma in the old age home. Lots of jokes about terrorists, about shooting guns, and about old lechers.
Shot on the background of Jerusalem, the film is lacking in a consistent style or genre -- it's not sure if it's a farce or a melodrama or a bank heist film -- and it doesn't combine the styles very well. It is also a film about old people and there is an incredibly poignant scene - which seems out of place in a farce -- in which the aging grandfather lovingly picks up his wife who is in a deep coma and dances with her. This scene includes a moment in which there is the suspension of reality as the wife puts her arms around his neck.
All of this notwithstanding the film is a great romp, sometimes really funny and good entertainment.
Hunting Elephants is available from Bleiberg Entertainment .