Dogs Are Colourblind

The hijinx in "Dogs Are Colourblind," which take place in a single night, make for a well-paced urban sex farce that follows a batch of generally engaging Tel Aviv denizens. But the humor here is too broad --- and the sexual politics too retrograde --- for the Hebrew-lingo "Dogs" to leap into the arthouse circuit. Naomi and Tziki (Keren Mor and Rami Hoiberger) are young professionals who return to their suburban home to find it ransacked by thieves. The couple have been fighting already, so --- now that they have no TV --- Tziki simply takes off to watch a basketball game with some pals. Naomi heads down to the nearest police station, where the deskies, seeing her beside a local prostitute (Dana Raz), assume she's waiting to be "processed."

With: Keren Mor, Dov Navon, Rami Hoiberger, Menashe Noi, Dana Raz, Shaul Mizrahi, Shmil Ben Ari.

Just when she gives up in disgust, Naomi is noticed by the top cop, Claude (Dov Navon), who takes a personal interest in her case. Claude, of course, thinks he’s God’s gift to vulnerable women; he sees himself as a Jewish Gary Cooper, complete with trusty dog in the back of the van (despite the logic of the title, he keeps trying to train the mutt to bark when traffic lights change). At the moment, Naomi doesn’t mind his attention.

The sports fans, meanwhile, are having their own troubles. Due to a bizarre squabble, some of them get locked out of the supermodern apartment where they were planning to catch the game. One, a lanky, married Hasid, gets taken in by a sexy woman upstairs, while the small, frog-voiced Tziki goes wandering in a crummy part of town, eventually hooking up with the same hooker Naomi met at the cop shop, along with her suddenly friendly pimp, who — little does Tziki realize — was behind the burglary that started things off.

Meanwhile, the hired thieves are traipsing around town with their ill-gotten goods, destined for a run-in with another of Tziki’s cronies, a goofy John Turturro-type hoping to sell his mint-condition, old American car.

Pic has a buoyant, colorful feel, with lively pop music and nice urban texture; lenser Avi Koren makes you forget that most of the action is night-bound. Western auds, however, may be turned off by the cavalier attitude toward the female characters — we’re sometimes expected to chuckle when a woman gets slapped or rudely treated. To be sure, the helmers (a married couple) do attempt to balance the scales: Claude’s machismo, for instance, turns out to have more bark than bite, and Naomi, as played by the attractive Mor, proves the most durable person on the scene.

But getting to this neat conclusion means wading through some silly, old-fashioned business — with the camera’s prudish attitude toward much-talked-about canoodling a definite minus in the marketing department.

Dogs Are Colourblind


Production: A Cinemaphob Ltd. production, with support from the Israeli Ministry of Industry & Trade, Keshet Broadcast. (International sales: Cinephil, Tel Aviv.) Produced, directed by Orna and Johanan Raviv. Screenplay, Noam Berkowitz, Amos Ever-Hadany.

Crew: Camera (color), Avi Koren; editor, Zion Avrahamian; music, Teapacks, Kobi Oz; production design, Itamar Noiman; sound, David Iis, Gil Toren. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival, June 4, 1997. (Also in AFI/L.A. Film Festival.) Running time: 92 MIN. (Hebrew dialogue)

With: With: Keren Mor, Dov Navon, Rami Hoiberger, Menashe Noi, Dana Raz, Shaul Mizrahi, Shmil Ben Ari.

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