Roee Rosen’s take on The Metamorphosis delivers Kafka in explosive form. We remember his Dust Channel (FID 2016), which combined Buñuel’s Andalusian Dog with Dyson hoovers in a gritty political tale about the Israeli occupation. This Kafka is “aimed at kids” , but “what is a kid?” we hear as a ritornellos: it’s a musical comedy composed like an episodic television programme, complete with commercial breaks. The storyteller and his listener, a ‘little girl’ and ‘model child’, lead us into a vibrant world. The filmmaker multiplies the layers of the story, twists and peppers them with unpredictable tangents. So, in addition to the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa depicted through his own animated gouaches, Rosen telescopes Sacher Masoch, among other figures, and, as a core element, a law regarding Palestinian children. This was a key element in his previous film, Explaining the law to Kwame (FID 2021), intended originally for this Kafka. It emerges unexpectedly, both like its heart and a graft. Layer upon layer, Rosen crafts a fable of uncomfortable strangeness, like the faces inserted into the set, the discordant timbre of Igor Krutogolov’s orchestra of dissonant toys and the extraordinarily versatile acting of Hani Furstenberg. The tangents act like a plethora of additional insights, summoning off-camera politics which seem to pervade and contaminate everything. Politics and eroticism, childhood and the law – Roee Rosen leads us into a world full of ambiguities, snares and contradictions.
(Nicolas Feodoroff) Roee Rosen