The Jews (2016) - 3/10
Updated: Apr 25
Yvan (Yvan Attal) is French, atheist and lots of other things as he describes himself to his councillor in the opening scene... including being a Jew. He also wrote and directed this. Being Jewish and not religious, not bound at the heart to Israel, not fluent in Hebrew seems to confuse a baffling amount of people. Yvan finds this and does what many Jews do, which is not hide his jewish identity, but doesn’t broadcast it either... until he made this film. Being Jewish bizarrely seems to hold a stigma still in some countries... certainly in France. Anyway Yvan is a remote narrator in this tale. He’s talking to his counsellor and their sessions hypothesise on a number of Jewish stereotypes, each depicted by a short vignette. So we get the far right politician and her downtrodden husband who discovers he’s Jewish on his grandmother’s death bed and starts checking the size of his nose, only to realise he’s now got the perfect ammunition to get back at his wife. Then there’s the divorced woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg), cursing her ex for being the only poor Jew, making him think there’s been a mistake and he can’t possibly be Jewish until his dad wins the lottery and everyone starts chasing the money. Conspiracies that Jews only help one another, rule the world etc. The usual antisemitic crap. The problem here is it’s supposed to be inventive, insightful satirical and funny... it’s not. Not even the time travelling Mossad hitman mistaken for The Messiah on a mission to kill Jesus, that falls in love with Mary. Or the chaos started when a ginger guy annoyed that Jews get sympathy for the Holocaust starts a movement to promote the suffering of redheads. Or a referendum to make France a Jewish state and convert all citizens. I guess the idea is to mock the stereotypes, but because it’s so cold and uninspired it really doesn’t achieve that. I’d hate to think it fuels further antisemitism. It’s thankfully too crap for that, but it’s seems like a vanity project that’s really missed the target.