Charlie and a Half

96 Minutes, 1973
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Directed by: Boaz Davidson
Cast: Yehuda Barkan, Geula Nuni, Zeev Revach, Tuvia Tzafir, Haya Katzir, David Shushan
Production:Simcha Zvuloni
Production Company:Filmonde Co. Ltd.
Photographer: Amnon Salomon
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Boaz Davidson’s hit comedy drew nearly 700,000 people to cinemas when it first opened. Later, Charlie and a Half’s status as a bona fide Israeli culture cult classic was properly cemented with nonstop repeats on various TV channels, introducing it to generations of new audiences over the years. At the heart of the story is Charlie, a two-bit criminal who makes his living committing small-time cons and petty thefts with his partner in crime – little orphaned Mico. In true bourekas genre tradition, interethnic tensions soon rear their head in the form of a budding romance between Charlie – the poor, working class yob from the slums – and Gilla, the daughter of well-off parents who are eager to marry her off to Robert – an Ashkenazi bore whose father is in business with Gilla’s. Charlie’s archnemesis on the street is Sasson – another petty thief who drives a smart car and who has not had much luck so far, conceiving with his wife; a problem that has led him to seek out the counsel of a fortune teller who instructs him to go and pluck a hair off a giraffe’s moustache. The film has spawned several of the most often quoted lines in Israeli film history, including “who’s doing this? It’s Mico,” “What was the worm after? A hook,” “what’s with you, first thing in the morning?!”, “Flora flafoura, you falfoul flafoura,” and, “whatcha be sayin’?!”

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