Like a forgettable fizzy drink, Amit Leor’s “Cafe Tales” is an amiable distraction that leaves little aftertaste. Playing on aud sentiments for underdogs, this comedy about the cockeyed denizens of a backstreet Tel Aviv cafe who team up to save the cafe from the wrecking ball intersperses its hit-and-miss antics with genuine, if obvious, allusions about the precariousness of the Israeli nation. Since it was shot in DigiBeta, blue-collar bohemian entertainment will perform best in vid release, which launched locally in April.
Leah (Elisheva Michaeli) has owned her Braun Cafe since 1959, but the joint’s heyday is long gone, and moneyed interests want to tear the place down to build a big complex. The motley regulars are led by creatively blocked poet Yutz (Moshe Ivgy, narrating verbosely), who finds himself trying to devise some way to stave off the greed merchants. Physically broad comic strokes take over as the cafe customers bicker and join forces, and it all tends to be too much on the bigscreen. Pic was first Israeli production to be shot and screened digitally, bypassing film altogether.