2011 True/False Film Festival: ‘Hula & Natan’

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Hula & Natan

Directed by Robby Elmaliah

2010, Israel

At a brisk 55 minutes, Hula & Natan is a very surprising film about a well worn subject.  It takes place in Sderot, a small junkyard community on the Gaza strip, following a pair of oddballs Hula and Natan.  Instead of being a grim film on a depressing subject matter, director Robby Elmaliah turns it into a buddy comedy.  Obviously this is due to the wonderful comradeship between the two men.  Their chemistry is wonderful and it is what drives the film.

It’s wise that Elmaliah chose to tell this story in stead of a more conventional and angry political story.  Yes the film has a message and it is moving at times but it’s the quirky edge that the film has that really shines.  Some of the best scenes in the film come from the men just sitting around and shooting the shit.  They give each other shit all the time but it is part of their friendship.

Both men are divorced and it really comes across as a bromance.  Hula has a son who is really his ex-wife’s but he is helps to take care of him and their scenes together are very sweet and funny.  While we don’t learn as much about  Natan’s home life, other than his penchant to spend his money on prostitutes, his scenes with Hula are so funny that those are really all we need.

Hula & Natan is a rarity.  A buddy comedy set along the Gaza strip and one that finds the humor and humanity in everyday life.

– Joshua Youngerman

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