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HUNTING ELEPHANTS

SYNOPSIS:
After losing his father (Zvika Hadar) in a bank accident, socially awkward but brilliant teenager Jonathon (Gil Blank) is left in a nursing home by his mother Dorit (Yael Abecassis) with former bank robber and curmudgeonly grandfather, Elijah (Sasson Gabay), to keep him company. Together, Jonathon and Elijah - with help from fellow nursing home resident, Nick (Moni Moshonov), and an eccentric English uncle, Lord Michael Simpson (Patrick Stewart) - hatch a scheme to help Jonathon avenge his father's death and re-live their glory days.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With its combination of dark humour, Jewish humour and ageing ailments humour, Hunting Elephants is a bitter sweet and lively comedy. But it is grounded entirely on the stuff of drama. Oh, and a touch of satire in the shape of Patrick Stewart's acting caricature as Michael Simpson, whose vanity is infinite.

Everyone plays it for drama ... mostly, more or less (except perhaps Stewart, who's allowed some ham) which works to the film's advantage, providing the complexity and texture. Sasson Gabay is especially effective as the brittle and somewhat bitter (and cruel) Elijah, Jonathon's (Gil Blank) grandfather with a colourful past.

Director Reshef Levi makes sparing but effective use of a device that lets him fill in some expositional details (with colourful elements): a few curt scenes from what appears to be a documentary after the events in the film.

The film's comic nature collides with its brutal darkness, yet it gets away with it, probably because the observations are razor sharp, whether turned to comedy or tragedy. But it ends in smiles and surprises.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HUNTING ELEPHANTS (M)
(Israel/US, 2013)

CAST: Patrick Stewart, Gil Blank, Sasson Gabai, Yael Abecassis, Moni Moshonov, Moshe Ivgy

PRODUCER: Ehud Bleiberg, Leon Edery, Moshe Edery

DIRECTOR: Reshef Levi

SCRIPT: Reshef Levi, Regev Levi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Yaron Scharf

EDITOR: Isaac Sehayek

MUSIC: Gilad Benamram

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Arad Sawat

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella Entertainment

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Classic Cinema, Melbourne: November 28, 2013







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