Opening today Capsules by Michael Sragow.

May 23, 2008|By Michael Sragow

Jellyfish -- The title of Jellyfish immediately refers to a small girl (Nikol Leidman) with an extraordinarily intense and open face who emerges from the sea outside Tel Aviv, Israel, in bikini bottoms and a flotation tube. She walks into the path of a depressed waitress named Batya (Sarah Adler) and gives her a good shaking-up. But what gives the film a haunting and sometimes droll poetic unity is the way co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen trace all their characters moving in a jellyfishlike fashion. They jolt forward with their heads and set off streams of complication in their wake. They include an exuberant wedding couple (Noa Knoller and Gera Sandler) who turn gloomy when the bride breaks her leg and they end up spending their honeymoon in an oppressive hotel, and a Filipino caregiver (Ma-nenita De Latorre) yearning for the son she left back home. These characters only occasionally cross paths. They mostly share a need to transcend what Grace Paley called the little disturbances of man -- in some cases, not so little. In a series of allusive and elusive vignettes, the filmmakers convey that unexpected visions can enable even depressives to seize lyric comedy (and sometimes lyric tragedy) from the mundane. Unrated 78 minutes B+

Priceless -- In a tale full of comic reversals, a world of luxury and ease falls apart for Irene (Audrey Tautou), a gold digger in the gorgeous getaway spots of Biarritz and Nice, France, after she beds a smitten hotel employee, Jean (Gad Elmaleh), whom she mistakes for a well-heeled guest. Pierre Salvadori's movie would be no more than an amorous gavotte were it not for the delicate teamwork of Elmaleh and Tautou. Elmaleh brings out the absurdity in the commonplace -- he turns the creation of a cocktail into a sweet, memorable set piece. And Tautou makes you feel Irene's anguish over the possibility of ending up alone and penniless -- and the passion she can't fight when she looks at Jean. Tautou's kind of talent: priceless. Rated PG-13. Time 104 minutes. B

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