Tale of a Taxi

76 Minutes, 1956
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Directed by: Larry Frisch
Cast: Shaike Ophir, Shmuel Rodensky, Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, Nathan Cogan, Azaria Rapaport
Production:Larry Frisch, Yitzhak Agadati, Mordechai Navon
Production Company:Geva-Frisch Films
Photographer: Nissim (Nicho) Leon
Language: Hebrew
| Subtitles not available

Director Larry Frisch’s film marks the first-ever commercial release comedy to have been produced in Israel, in addition to being Geva Studios’ first feature-length production – not to mention actor Shaike Ophir’s big screen debut who, in one scene, gets to show off his exceptional miming skills when he recalls his basic training days as a soldier.
Five passengers get on board a Jerusalem-bound taxi, which subsequently breaks down. As the cabbie tries to fix the decommissioned vehicle, the passengers all head into an old, abandoned structure and wait. Meanwhile, each of them shares their own backstory – shown as a flashback – with their fellow passengers. The five stories make up five comedic episodes that comprise the film: a soldier (Shaike Ophir) who absconds his shift to go and see his sweetheart and in doing so, saves the lives of his entire division; an elderly woman who arrives in Tel Aviv from her nursing home in sleepy Netanya, only to be plagued by panic and paranoia; a family living in squalor in a tiny bedsit who are advised by a sage rabbi to take in a chicken, goat, and donkey if they are to turn their fortunes; a man trying to impress his boss who invites him and his wife over for dinner, during which he serves mushrooms that turn out to be poisonous; and a bank teller who steals money from the safe and hands it out to migrants in temporary accommodation.
Film censors initially tried to get the final episode thrown out, on the argument that this story of a modern-day Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to the poor bears a little too much resemblance to an actual story that happened not long before the film’s release.
With international audiences and distribution in mind, English and Hebrew versions of the film were shot simultaneously.

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