A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol)


The 26th Jerusalem international film festival opened tonight with the film A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol). After over one hour of speeches and awards, the 5000 anxious viewers got to see the Israeli premiere of the "Biggest" Israeli movie of the summer on a huge outdoor screen. The film was screened in Sultan's Pool on a perfect Jerusalem night, under an almost full moon, between the new city and old city. It is rare for the festival to open with an Israeli film, but even more rare is for Israel to release such a crowd pleaser.

This film falls into the genre of the recent Bonjour Monsiour Shlomi, Aviva My Love and Noodle -- small but spicy authentic dramatic stories of Israeli life, told with a dash of sweetness. It is not a coincidence that Shemi Zarchin is involved with the script of all four mentioned films. These films capture part of the greatness of the new Israeli film industry. They are not artistic masterpieces, or very deep stories... They are simple and well told. Some describe elements of these films as "real israeli" though I assure you, there is nothing realistic about these films. In A Matter of Size, we follow the story of four overwieght friends in the poor city of Ramla, who decide to quit a weight watching program and become the first Israeli Sumo wrestlers. What makes the story real is the fact that they are dealing with an average, lower class minority setting, as appossed to the classic mainstream Tel Aviv western population. These guys do not hang out in a dance club, they hang out in a Shawarma store. They do not drive flashy cars or live in fancy apartments. All very real... yet, this story is fantastic and works as an escapest vehicle as well as a Hollywood-style film. Here we see a meeting of east and west. A story that is told with eastern meat and spices, but presented in the western structure and packaging. Every detail of the film is perfectly written, placed and captured. Even the poor city of Ramla looks good on film as the four over-weight men run through the streets. Despite the authentic elements it is styalized into a modern fairy tale.

The power of Israeli film is in these storeis... nothing political, no military, just a simple sweet story that is told well and deals with universal issues, yet with a very specific and unique sorrounding and language.

Regards from Jerusalem...

Isaac Zablocki

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