Skip to main content


Israel, 1969 (MIFF 1970, Programme C)

Director: Ephraim Kishon

A lunatic escapes in a milk van which drops him in the midst of a road building team from which he steals a pneumatic drill and starts to dig in the main square of Tel Aviv. Police stop the traffic in the belief that he is working for the council, and pandemonium breaks out. The mayor orders an inquiry into who ordered a canal to be dug through the middle of the city, and accusations fly between departments like memoranda. No one acknowledges responsibility until heads of departments begin to suspect that someone is carrying out a redevelopment plan without their knowledge. So they compete for the credit, sending bulldozers and workmen, who join in digging the canal until Tel Aviv becomes another Venice. When the mayor opens the first regatta, he is interrupted by a municipal clerk who has discovered the truth. So he is taken to the asylum, leaving the lunatic still at large ....

For the first time a technically flawless pic has been produced by Israelis on a major scale. And out of Israel has come a picture which has nothing to do with Jewish suffering .... Kishon's script sometimes carries his satire too far, almost into caricature. But most of the time he remains within the boundaries of the human and possible. The realm of the possible is, of course, the pertinent, frightening aspect of satire. But director Kishon is constantly aware that satire works only as long as it is funny.

Lapi in Variety

A humorous but biting send-up of bureaucracy gone mad, directed with great zest and vitality.

Edinburgh Filrn Festival programme

See also...


Azulai is a warm-hearted elderly Israeli cop, proud of his uniform, but too naive to discover an obvious culprit and too weak-hearted to arrest him. ... With qualities like these, it is no wonder he ... More »


Ervinka is a smart young man with a healthy inclination towaids laziness — a sort of Tel Aviv Till Eulenspiegel. He and his friend, Joseph the peddlar, engage in a senes of adventures propelled ... More »


Happy Games is composed of two episodes, one a romantic incident, the other a comedy. ... Stick is a comedy about a family's week-end trip — with father, mother, three children, and animals ... More »


Walkover, the original Polish title of this film, is an English expression meaning "an easy victory". Though an entity in itself, in a sense this film is a continuation of Skolimowski's earlier film ... More »

The More Man Understands

The film documents the fresh approach to learning in some of Britain's new universities through new courses of study which have been recently introduced. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director