Rabies

47th Annual Chicago International Film Festival:

Rabies  is described in the CIFF catalogue as Israel’s “first foray into the slasher genre,” so it’s playing in the CIFF’s late night “After Dark” series. When I asked for the screener, I did so with some reluctance since I’m not typically a fan of this genre, but the names on the DVD case commanded my attention: Lior Ashkenazi? Ania Bukstein? Henry David? Lovers of Israeli cinema know these names belong to very talented actors, and sure enough, if you watch from start to finish, I do believe there is some genuinely thought-provoking social commentary beneath the tongue-in-cheek mayhem. But be warned: you will wade through a whole lot of fake blood and guts before the final credits rolls.

By the way, the title Rabies is a literal translation of the Hebrew word “kalevet” (from kelev = dog), but in current Israeli slang, “kalevet” is used more generally to signify “bad news.” One online dictionary gives this example: “How was your test? Kalevet; I knew nothing!”

If I ruled the world and could suggest a new English title for this film, I would select FUBAR.

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