Metallic Blues

  • 2004 - Israel - 90 minutes
  • Writer and Director - Dan Verete
  • My Rating - 3 of 5 Stars

When you first read a synopsis of Metallic Blues, you think it is going to be a road picture comedy, but it is not a comedy. It's actually a tragedy focusing upon a man who is so influenced by history that it impedes his judgment.

The visuals in the film are impressive from the start. You see a Middle Eastern village where you might expect to see Jesus or Moses walking by but instead, you see a metallic blue 1985 Lincoln Continental limousine. The juxtaposition of images separated by over two-thousand years is a shocker.

A man enters the car and drives it to a local car dealer where he hopes to sell it. It seems that he has moved back from Canada and cannot afford the tax on the car. The dealership is manned by two. One appears to be the worker of the pair - keeping the cars clean and running. The other is a cookie cutter version of many auto salesmen to be found everywhere in the world. He is Shmuel, the apparent owner of the lot and has seen the same car in a German dealer's catalog priced at €50,000. He conferences with Siso, the worker of the pair, whose financial support he needs and convinces him to invest in the purchase of the car. In the typical car dealer fashion, Shmuel makes a deal to buy the car from the "ignorant Arab" for €5,000.

Siso's wife is very upset that he has taken family funds to finance the scheme. They have four children and were planning on using the money to convert a space in their small apartment in order to provide a room for their teenaged daughter.

Shmuel has a fine apartment with all the latest improvements and no children. The only conflict he meets concerning his part in the scheme is that his wife is upset that she can't go along to sell the car in Europe. Shumel doesn't disclose to his wife that he is traveling to Germany to sell the car. He is wary of her reaction because most of his family was murdered in concentration camps.

This is the first indication of the ultimate darkness of this film for it begins to change from a film about two unsophisticated guys in the big city to an examination of the psyche of a man who has been damaged by horrible events in his family's history even though they took place fifteen years before he was born.

Once the two get to Germany, events start off lightly but get worse and worse until the frightening climax of the film.

Of the reviews on the Internet Movie Data Base, two are written by Israelis. Opposite in opinion, both are interesting to read in order to get an Israeli insight into this film. For me, it was an educating experience in some of the attitudes of persons of a Middle Eastern (not necessarily Jewish) mindset. One that stands out in my mind is when Shmuel and Siso are caught in a big traffic jam in Germany. They think that the Germans are crazy to sit and wait patiently. Shmuel derides them for not becoming angry and blowing their horns. Events such as this that take place through out make this film is a good lesson in the dangers of letting emotion overrule reason - a lesson good for anyone no matter where one lives.

Neil Turner
June 11, 2007