Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Now showing: German comedy

This weekend I caught a great film -- a German comedy, actually. Yes, the Germans are capable of comedy. What made this one all the more audacious was the subject matter: it's about a Jewish poolhall hustler and his Orthodox Jewish in-laws. To earn the mother's inheritance the two feuding brothers have to sit shiva for a week and reconcile. Zucker, the main character and poolhall hustler, concocts a series of gags to sneak out and get down to the pool hall. It's not quite Woody Allen, but it has some classicly funny scenes.

In Italian, the movie is called " Zucker!...Come diventare ebreo in 7 giorni" or "Zucker, how to become Jewish in 7 days". With a title like that, who wouldn't be intrigued? Director Dani Levi really has a set of palle to go with such a controversial title, I thought. And so I went poking around to see what's being said about the film. The answer: very little.

There's two reasons for the radio/Net silence. Firstly, the film came out in Germany in 2004. Secondly, only the Italians (as far as I can find) have given it this how-to title. In the U.S., it's called "Go for Zucker". And, in Germany "Alles Auf Zucker" ("Everything on Zucker" or some such).

What I can't understand is why the Italian distributors would make such a radical name change. On second thought, I like the Italian title. It's funny, bold, a bit controversial...just like the film. It's what immediately perked my interest. I dunno. Go for Zucker just doesn't quite do it.

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