Operation Grandma

Dror Shaul
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Director Dror Shaul’s 1999 comedy that has since shot to cult status, follows the story of three orphaned siblings who come together to lay their dearly departed gran to rest back in the kibbutz they had all left. The film takes no prisoners in its ridiculing of virtually everyone and everything, with no one getting more flak than eldest sibling – diehard military officer, aka ‘Krembo*’ (Rami Heuberger) [*a popular Israeli spongy ice cream snack]. Meanwhile, it’s the commander’s overzealous desk officer, Shirley (Rotem Abuhab), who turns out to be the most talented and competent one of the lot. That said, she ultimately spends her every waking moment tending to Krembo’s every need and whim. In fact, for all intents and purposes, Shirley functions as his wife – egging him on to advance his career and packing his supplies for him before he goes off on a mission.

However, unlike her desk officer peers in previous films, Shirley is not portrayed as a sex object. This is especially evident in the scene where an ecstatic Krembo – grateful for Shirley’s help in realising his plan – carries her over his shoulder as if she were an injured soldier. For after all, what greater honour can a soldier bestow on their peer? Of course the age-old macho, lascivious treatment of women that has become synonymous with officers like him, Krembo then directs at a foreign kibbutz volunteer whom he approaches in the pool and asks, “You want to come to my room? A cup of coffee, fuck of tea?” Later on, he tries to impress the volunteer with some colourful war stories which, inexplicably, seem to work.

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