Yishai Orian, the director of the movie and the owner of an old Volkswagen beetle is about to become a father. His mechanic says that the car will not last long, while his wife complains that the car is unsuitable for a baby. Attempting to keep his beloved car, Yishai goes on a journey that begins with the previous owners of the beetle, continues to Jordan to renovate the old car, and ends with the birth of his first child. The exciting, funny, sad, and intimate memories of the beetle’s previous owners blend with the director’s personal story.
Written and Directed by: Yishai OrianProduced by: Yishai OrianSponsored by: The 2nd Authority for Television & Radio and The New Foundation for Cinema & TVLanguage: Hebrew, Arabic with English subtitle
This first-person documentary begins on the eve of Jerusalem filmmaker Yishai Orian’s wedding to Eliraz—the same week during which he buys a used yellow Volkswagen with a red hood. The Beetle picks up the story six years later with a pregnant wife and a worn-out car. While Yishai is a likable slob, Eliraz is a somewhat unsympathetic scold, who’s tired of the 40-year-old Beetle. “This car,” she complains, “is a piece of junk.” But to Yishai the car is more than just a broken-down hunk of metal, and he tracks down the vehicle’s original owners, along the way tracing the history of the “bug” back to Nazi Germany, where it gained popularity as “the people’s car” (eventually the model found its way around the world, including Israel, where prime minister Menachem Begin protested its arrival before relenting). Yishai’s quest to learn his own Beetle’s story leads him to Lionel, whose father had a love/hate relationship with the car; Yoram, who remembers it fondly; Eva, who gave birth in it; and Mara and Karol, who held on to it for the sake of a sick child. Yishai enjoys their stories but worries about safety, the price of baby supplies, and mounting repair costs, wondering whether to sell it or have it overhauled before ultimately making a decision that feels right. Recommended.
C, P. (K. Fennessy) / Video Librarian, September, 2010
C, P. (K. Fennessy) / Video Librarian, September, 2010
"The Beetle" in the International Documentary Series Global Voices Returns to PBS WORLD
Series Provides a Global Perspective into the Lives of People Around the World Season premieres Sunday, May 9 at 10 PM on the PBS WORLD channel. For the entire review, check:
"It is one of the best movies I ever saw; such an interesting weaving of the personal and national coming of age. We are a group of Israelis who are very committed to watch any Israeli film that comes out. The Beetle definitely got very high scores."
Raya Mandler, USA
(***** of five stars), Droll and hapless Israeli documentary filmmaker Yishai Orian captures his efforts to convince his very pregnant wife that he should be allowed to keep his battered VW Beetle after she gives birth. The film captures Israeli and VW history (Hitler designed the Beetle) and the easy relations between Israelis and Jordanians when it comes to car repair.
For the entire review: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/orl-calmovie-global-peace-leadxx091809sep18,0,968223.story
An article about "The Beetle" in German, published in Nurnberg Nachrichter,
in preparation for the Screening of the Film on July 5th in an Art Cinema in
Regina Urban/Nurnberger Nachrichten, July 4, 2009
The Beetle is a documentary comedy about an old VW Beetle that needs repairing. His owner, the Israeli flimmaker Yishai Orian, decides to go to Jordan to repair, despite the protests of his pregnant wife to sell it.The rest is a road trip.
Cineman: Hi, Yishai, and thanks for answering those questions at Cineman.gr Apart from being a Beetlemaniac, how long have you been working on the cinema/documentary business? Is this your first film, and how were you inspired?
Yishai Orian (Y.O.): "The Beetle" is the first film I have made after graduating "The Sam Spiegel Film School" in Jerusalem in 2005.
When I was a film student in Jerusalem I needed a car to get around so I bought the cheapest one I could find. I did not know then that the VW Beetle I had just purchased with all my savings would become the center of disagreements between my wife and myself – and the subject of my first feature film.
It did not take long for me to discover that the car I had bought for practical reasons alone was not just any old car. People do not remain indifferent when they see you drive by in a Beetle. This got me thinking about what might have happened to my car before it was mine. Who drove it? Who sat in the back seat? And do they remember the car?
As I became more attached to my Beetle, and more curious about its past, I started thinking about making a film about my Beetle.
For the entire review with Filmmaker Yishai Orian,
please check: http://www.cineman.gr/content/view/311/62/1/1/lang,el/
"About A Beetle and Kids"
Director Yishai Orian presents not only a car in "The Beetle" - but its function and meaning. The meaning of a German car in Israel is well explored in his amusing documentary. A car which was thought up by Hitler, and which was for more than 40 years an excessive symbol of the problems of Israel with itself and its neighbors- and which regards the relationship between human beings as the bond between both peoples.
Among the movies which deal with religion, politics, immigration and Holocaust issues there are also movies which simply tell the story of people who want to follow their dreams or must find their way, like the Israeli movie "The Beetle".
Der Tagesspiegel, May, 2009
"An expectant father's agony over giving up his pathetic old car — and his pre-fatherhood life — forms a surprisingly touching story of life and change in "The Beetle."
For the entire review by Joshua Tanzer/Offoffoff.com,
Director Yishai Orian has loaded up the film's star, a classic Volkswagen Beetle, with enough metaphorical luggage to bring a less robust and spirited vehicle to grinding halt. His beloved yellow car with the red hood may run a little slow at times, but it goes the distance and the ride is a delight.
Already anxious about becoming a father, Yishai's inner Peter Pan kicks into overdrive when his pregnant wife puts pressure on him to sell the Beetle and replace it with a safe, reliable family car. Their conflict over the Beetle becomes representative of their differing values. In the passenger seat sits Eliraz who embraces responsible adulthood. Sitting next to her in the driver's sear is Yishai who doesn't want to leave the freedom of his youth on the side of the road.
To bolster his case, he tracks down and interviews his Beetle's previous owners. Yoram Teharlev, a famous Israeli songwriter and poet, owned the car for twenty years. His children grew up riding in the back of the Beetle, and he uses the Beetle to illustrate the letter B in the children's book. The third owners share with Yishai how happy the Beetle made their desperately sick child.
Inspired by these stories, Yishai takes to the open road, to the south of Israel, then on to Jordan to have the car overhauled cheaply and quickly, before his wife gives birth. In this segment of the film, the Beetle offers Yishai the freedom of the open road and open spaces, and acts as a bridge between Arabs and Jews.
No car has inspired more lasting affection than the Beetle. Inextricably tied up with growing up in the 60s and 70s in Germany, the US and Israel, the Beetle became a symbol of youth and its values. The Beetle's appeal goes beyond more nostalgia. The car is a vault where precious stories of people's lives are stored, stores that intersect with the history of the times and the place.
Kaj Wilson/ Berlin Jewish Film Festival Catalogue, May 2009
American Jews, if you can persuade Yishai Orian to move here, Joseph Epstein can finally sleep soundly.
Scott Cunningham /Miami New Times, January 21, 2009
For the entire review check:
TimeOut Tel Aviv
"A heartwarming experience that lifts the spirits and touches the gut"
"Just a wonderful film"
Boston Jewish Film Festival (Nov. 5-16)
Celebrating its 20th year, the BJFF's gala event will feature Yishai Orian's "The Beetle," about a man's love for his ancient VW Bug. "Strangers" features an Israeli-Palestinian romance and was shot on location with improvised dialogue. MFA and other venues. www.bjff.org
For the entire review, check: