Entries tagged with “Moshe Ivgy”.

The popular comedies mixed with Mediterranean melodramas got a name of their own in the Israeli cinema of the 70s: ‘bourekas movies’. ‘Bourekas’ are the local flavor of the Turkish pastries. The genre was dominant while the Israeli cinema was in its teens age, decreased in popularity with the maturity but never really died. We may find traces of it in some of the more recent successes, and with ‘Hunting Elephants’ which combines the genre with the bank robbery and the more recent ‘retired actors playing retired gangsters’ international genre, it generates a film which is at many moments very fun to watch.


source www.imdb.com/title/tt2295196/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2295196/


Much of the story actually takes place in a retirement house where two veteran fighters from the time of the underground independence movement (played by Moni Mosonov and Sasson Gabai) are joined by one of their Brit arch-enemies (and yet family to one of them, and yet a lord, and yes – Patrick Stewart) and by a teen kid in a plot to rob a bank. If the premises seem a little fantasist, I need to say that the script has the unexpected quality of making them almost credible. The old men have the passion of proving once again that their lives fit to the values they fought for in a world that changed. The Brit has his own moral and material reasons. The intellectually super-gifted kid is bullied at school and  must do something to revenge the death of his father and save the honor of his mother. There is an evil system (the banks) to fight and an evil person (the bank manager – Moshe Ivgy) to punish. All fits.


(video source unitedkingfilms)


The three lead actors are big stars of the Israeli film and stage. It’s fun to see them acting especially that some of the lines are really funny.  In many moments the film compares well with such famous international productions like ‘Space Cowboys’ in the ‘old boys’ genre. Director Reshef Levi‘s lack of experience with sustaining the pace and avoiding some repetitions and building up for the actions scenes is however felt. In a bank robbery movie the robbery scene is the key and peak of the interest. Here it is repeated – maybe by design, maybe by coincidence – without adding consistent comic or action value, more in order to justify an ending which is good to the heroes and within the limits of some morality. This does not work well, and this is the main reason the film is in my opinion not a big success but only a nice try.


This is a performance I was not supposed to enjoy. I am not a fan of light and feel-good comedies, moralistic and happy-ending. ‘Harvey’ is a light, feel-good comedy that ends well and tells a few things about morals in our world. Being sold fantasies always rises my suspicion, and this play written by Mary Chase sells one and it’s a big one, one meter and 93.5 centimeters to be exact, with rabbit years as an extra. Broadway successes make me cautions and this was a big hit being represented more than 1700 times on the 48th street between 1944 and 1949. Yet, somehow, the performance at the Gesher Theater works and I am yet to find out why.


source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il/he/


It may be that the need for goodness is so big that one almost automatically sympathizes with people who radiate goodness even if they happen to bring their oddities and the lack of fitting with the world around to their help. Elwood, the character that carries the play may be considered the a-normal but the norm and normality melt quickly under the charm of the text and of the lead actor Avi Greinich, whose performance is so convincing that we almost end by looking aside for a pooka or maybe puca (look into the Wikipedia explanation if you are curious) to keep us company after we step out of the Noga Theater in Jaffo. It’s even more remarkable to mention Greinich’s act as the lead role he entered in was played by James Stewart in the film version premiered in 1950.


(video source generic11281)


If the magic works this is certainly due also to the rest of the team of actors who all support the lead character. The performance cannot keep the pace for the whole duration of the show, and some repetitions and too much melodrama are visible in the second part. Maybe also the theater hall and stage are too big, I would have imagined the play better in a smaller theater, but then the hall was full on Saturday night, and this is good news for a theater that fought in the last few years with adverse economic conditions. Director of this version is Moshe Ivgy at his first run as a stage director. Actually I am not sure about this either, as his name is not mentioned for some reasons in the leaflet and program for the coming months, so there may have been some problems of a kind or another. Sets are very effective (again, no name mentioned in the program), and the overall impression is that feel-good theater does not necessarily mean bad theater.