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By Bret McCabe | Posted 5/28/2008

Consider Jellyfish one of those Short Cuts portraits of a city in elliptical miniature. Over the course of a few days, various young women collide in a seemingly random but short-story poignant ways--no surprise, considering the co-director is lean prose stylist Etgar Keret. He and his wife, Shira Geffen, have fashioned what feels like a trifling entertainment that ends up leaving a lasting impression. Wedding catering waitress Batia (Sarah Adler) becomes the unlikely guardian of a mysterious little girl at a Tel Aviv beach; newlywed Keren (the stunning Noa Knoller) breaks her ankle at her reception, leaving her and her husband bound to a local hotel for their honeymoon; and Filipino immigrant Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre) has come in search of domestic work to support her family at home. These lives don't so much cross and drift down diverse tangents through the city, tied together loosely by themes of loss and Geffen and Keret's blithe use of visual puns and precious staging. A pervading sense of sadness permeates the movie, and you're never quite sure why until about three-quarters of the way through this brisk 78 minutes, after which Jellyfish's emotional gravity doesn't let up, feeling like a Haruki Murakami short story, where the leitmotif layering slowly snowballs into something that threatens to overwhelm.

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