In many large cities around the world, people go missing. Loved ones, family, and friends want to know what happened when someone seems to vanish from the face of the earth. Young and old, men and women, straight arrow folk and mavericks anyone can disappear and cause a great deal of anxiety and grief. Jellyfish explores this theme through a very creative screenplay by co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, a couple who have made their mark as fiction writers.
In one scene a woman goes to the police station to report a little girl who has disappeared. The man in charge takes out a stack of papers and reads off the names of a few of those who have never been found. He makes a paper boat out of one case and blows it across his desk. To be lost in Tel Aviv is similar to being lost at sea. The woman winces, realizing her helplessness and the lack of closure she may share with others in her position.
To be a missing person means to be lost and lonely in a world where twos make the world go around. Batya (Sarah Adler) watches as her live-in boyfriend leaves her. He asks, "Don't you want to say something to me like stay?" But she does not answer. Batya is a shy person who is alienated from her mother, who only talks to her by leaving messages on the phone. Batya doesn't trust anyone, and that is one of the sources of her loneliness. She lives in a shabby apartment and works as a waitress for a catering company that specializes in weddings. One day a little girl (Nikol Leidman) walks out of the sea and attaches herself to this sad young woman. This changes her life in ways she never expected.
At one of the weddings where Batya is present, Keren (Noa Knoller) and Michael (Gera Sandler) become husband and wife. But after she breaks her leg, they are forced to cancel their honeymoon trip to the Caribbean and stay in a hotel. Keren is a very critical person who relentlessly complains about the room, the noise, and even the smell of the place. Michael tries to be patient but there is no pleasing his new wife. By chance he meets a mysterious woman who has the only suite in the hotel with a view of the sea. Michael, who feels like he is a missing person in Keren's presence, comes up with an idea that he feels will make her happy.
The final missing person is Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre), a Filipino domestic worker who is in Israel trying to earn money for her little son back home. She feels guilty being separated from him but can do nothing about it. A busy actress hires her to look after her mother, Malka (Zaharira Charifai), who is being released from the hospital. Joy witnesses the lack of love between these two and, surprising them by breaking into tears, precipitates a renegotiation of their relationship.
Jellyfish offers the imaginative filmgoer many metaphors for understanding the lack of connection between people whether husband and wife, mother and daughter, or a single woman unable to trust anyone. Many spiritual teachers talk about the importance of being present when we are dealing with others in intimate situations. When we can't reach out to others, we find ourselves hijacked by loneliness. When we are incapable of presence, we become missing persons. Jellyfish challenges us to see these spiritual meanings and many more in this extraordinary film.
Special DVD features include an interview with filmmakers Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen.