Jewish jokes aren’t like regular jokes. Granted, there’s the standard Q-and-A-style “Why did the rabbi cross the road?” setup. But often, Jewish jokes take the form of stories, with a slow buildup, wacky characters, and punchlines that really do pay off.
The short film “The Tailor,” written and directed by Gordon Grinberg, is one of those slow-building stories. It’s filmed in a stark and handsome black-and-white, with silent movie-style speech cards where appropriate.
The setup is unmistakably that of a classic joke. Two frocked priests walk down the street, followed soon by two yeshiva students, then a pair of nuns. Still, to the director’s credit, up until the very end we’re still not sure whether it’s a joke or just a very oddly-cast art film. And when the punchline finally comes, the only out-loud words in the film–delivered, of all people, by a nun–it is an astounding and laugh-out-loud moment. It’s also a trifle profanity-laced, but, we assure you, it’s perfectly good-natured as well.
November 23, 2011