Cannes Film Review: ‘A Strange Course of Events’

A deeply inconsequential Gallic-Israel semi-comic collaboration.

Ori Pfeffer, Moni Moshonov, Michaela Eshet, Maya Kenig, Bethany Gorenberg. (Hebrew dialogue)

A deeply inconsequential Gallic-Israeli semi-comic collaboration, “A Strange Course of Events” is just one darn thing after another, and not in a good way. French-born helmer Raphael Nadjari’s sixth feature reunites him with Israeli thesp Ori Pfeffer, with whom he made “Apartment #5C,” to tell a meandering yarn about a grumpy loner having an awkward and unlucky extended visit with his father Haifa. Commercial prospects look niche in both the pic’s countries of origin, and uneventful offshore.

Hospital worker Shaul (Pfeffer, watchable) doesn’t really get on with his shopping-mall-employee dad, Shimon (Moni Moshonov), or Shimon’s hippy-dippy g.f., Bati (Michaela Eshet), but nevertheless he comes up to stay with them for several days. The supremely irritating Bati’s efforts to get the two men talking fall flat, but when Shaul injures himself by slipping on a fish at the local market and his own young daughter, Michal (Bethany Gorenberg), arrives suddenly, a thaw looks imminent. Too often the pic feels as if it’s killing time to pad itself out into feature length, as when an inordinate amount of time is spent watching Shaul install a computer. The fish-slipping is the most exciting bit.

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Cannes Film Review: 'A Strange Course of Events'

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight), May 22, 2013. Running time: 100 MIN.

Production: (France-Israel) A MK2 (in France) release of an Avenue B, Transfax Films, Laila Film, MK2 production in co-production with Vito Films, with the participation of CNC, Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Institut Francais, the Israel Film Fund, Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport, with the support of Israeli Ministry of Economy, Digital Media Support Program. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Caroline Bonmarchand, Marek Rosenbaum, Itai Tamir.

Crew: Directed by Raphael Nadjari. Screenplay, Nadjari, Geoffroy Grison. Camera (color, HD), Laurent Brunet; editor, Simon Birman; music, Jocelyn Soubiran, Jean-Pierre Sluys; production designer, Maha Assal; costume designer, Yam Brusilovsky; sound (Dolby Digital), Michael Gurevitch; sound, Chen Harpaz; line producer, Tony Copti; assistant director, Yonatan Rozenbaum; casting, Amit Berlowitz.

With: Ori Pfeffer, Moni Moshonov, Michaela Eshet, Maya Kenig, Bethany Gorenberg. (Hebrew dialogue)

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