Jellyfish and Lobster: A Short Film That Will Linger in Your Mind Long After the Credits Roll
By: Kimberley Ford
When it comes to short films, it is a remarkable achievement to leave a lasting impact on your audience within such a brief runtime, but Yasmin Afifi did exactly that with her magical realist, dark comedy short ‘Jellyfish and Lobster’. With a run time of 20 minutes, this short film is a mesmerising cinematic venture that delves deep into the themes of ageing, the inevitability of death and the mysterious pull of human connection.
At its core, this film is about two characters running out of time, forced to live what remains of their life with a sense of urgency. ‘Jellyfish and Lobster’ weaves a simple yet profound narrative that follows the journey of two lonely souls living in a care home: Grace, facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Mido, suffering with dementia. Their paths unexpectedly cross whilst Mido is in a laundry cupboard that Grace enters to have a sneaky cigarette. It is this chance meeting that creates a unique bond that transcends their divergent realities and provides the solace each character craves.
Yasmin Afifi’s adept storytelling captures the struggles and emotions of Grace and Mido as they grapple with the impending end of their lives. Both characters are portrayed with remarkable depth and authenticity, drawing us into their experiences and emotions with a perfectly balanced mix of comedic and tragic moments. The chemistry between the two leads, brilliantly portrayed by Flo Wilson and Sayed Badreya, enhances the believability of their new found relationship and builds a genuine connection with the audience.
One of the film’s most intriguing elements is the pool that the duo stumbles upon. The pool holds a magical secret: when Grace and Mido submerge themselves, they are transformed into their younger, healthier selves. The symbolism here is powerful, representing the longing to escape the limitations and ailments of old age and find solace in a time when they felt more alive and vibrant.
The metaphorical elements in ‘Jellyfish and Lobster’ are woven skilfully into the narrative, leaving room for personal interpretation and further enriching the narrative. The jellyfish, a creature often associated with rebirth and renewal, epitomises the characters’ desire to reclaim their lost youth. If injured, a jellyfish can shift their cellular structure and revert to an earlier stage of their development, much like Grace and Mido when they revert to their younger selves in the pool.
Conversely, lobsters have a hard upper shell, representing strength and protection but their underbellies are far more fragile giving us a lesson about a balance between the exteriors we show to the world and our hearts within. This is extremely fitting for the character of Grace, who after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis maintains her hard exterior before finally admitting her fears to Mido. Together, the jellyfish and lobster encompass the duality of life and invite contemplation on the purpose and meaning of our existence.
The production design and cinematography of ‘Jellyfish and Lobster’ deserve a special mention. The care home’s gritty atmosphere is meticulously portrayed, immersing viewers in the characters’ world and enhancing the film’s realism. The juxtaposition of this somber setting with the moments of magical realism in the pool is masterfully handled by DOP Linda Wu creating a visually stunning experience.
With its blend of humour, drama, and magical realism, ‘Jellyfish and Lobster’ is a gem of a short film that will linger in your mind long after the credits roll. It deftly explores the universal themes of mortality, the search for meaning, and the inseparable links between past and present. The directors skilful storytelling, coupled with brilliant performances and captivating visuals, make this short film an absolute must-watch for fans of dark comedy and magical realism.
Award Winning Film "Jellyfish and Lobster" Stars:- Flo Wilson - Sayed Badreya Writer- Director By Yasmin Afifi - Producer- Elizabeth Rufai
I am truly honored to have been nominated by the British Short Film Awards as Best Supporting Actor for “Jellyfish and Lobster.”
I want to extend my gratitude to the Festival, the programmers, the judges, and the makers of the film for casting me as a man with Alzheimer, not a man with a gun.
Yes, I have been playing “The Terrorist” for too long. But with “Jellyfish and Lobster" something totally different has come along.
The Los Angeles Times proclaims, “The undisputed
champion of the Arab terrorist role is Sayed Badreya. The burly, bearded Egyptian-born actor has played an array of menacing characters in his Hollywood career." The New York Times said, "It could be the heavy beard. Or the accent evocative of an afternoon in a souk. Maybe it's his size, large enough to crush the average flight attendant. Or perhaps because he can successfully convince an audience he will blow your head off, Sayed Badreya has made it in Hollywood by being cast in one role after another as an Islamic terrorist."
In “Iron Man" I was the arms dealer who kidnaps the hero, Robert Downey Jr.
I had a shouting match with Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer in Micheal Mann's "The Insider" and was shot by George Clooney in the “Three Kings.” I then hijacked a plane with Halle Berry as the flying attendant.
For almost four decades, I have been the angry Arab on the silver screen. But, once in a lifetime for actors like me, here comes a script that paints a new canvas that opens the door to different characters, and for that, I am thankful.
Thank you for the opportunity to show the other faces of Arab actors. And, last but not least, a special thank you to my fellow nominees; the film wouldn’t have been the same without all of you.
أنا فخور جدًا بالإعلان عن إدراج فيلم Jellyfish and Lobster في القائمة الطويلة بعدد لا يصدق من 11 ترشيحًا لجوائز الأفلام البريطانية القصيرة لعام 2023. يا له من شرف
.I am beyond proud to announce Jellyfish and
Lobster has been long-listed with an absolutely incredible amount of 11 NOMINATIONS for The British Short Film Awards 2023. What an honour.
Best Student Film
Best British Director - Yasmin Afifi
Best Actress - Flo Wilson
Best Supporting Actor - Sayed Badreya
Best Score - Catherine Hillier
Best Cinematography - Linda Wu
Best Editing - Max Reynolds
Best Costume Design - Mei Cheng
Best Production Design - Gili Ofri
Best Sound Design - Conor Thompson
Thank you so much @britishshortfilmawards for such ardent recognition of our film and the unbelievably talented and hard working creatives who gave their everything to tell this story. I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to have had each and every one of them on this journey. They deserve this so much. Congratulations to everyone
Jellyfish and Lobster" is in the Official Selection for the Oscar Qualifying at the 32nd Annual St. Louis International Film Festival
يسعدني أن يكون فيلمنا "Jellyfish and Lobster" ضمن الاختيار الرسمي للتأهل لجائزة الأوسكار في مهرجان سانت لويس السينمائي الدولي السنوي الثاني والثلاثين (SLIFF) في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في الفترة من 9 إلى 19 نوفمبر 2023، في سانت لويس بولاية ميسوري. ، الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
لا يمكننا الانتظار مطلقًا لبدء مشاركة هذا الفيلم مع الجماهير الأمريكية. تهانينا للفريق بأكمله
I am delighted that Our Film "Jellyfish and Lobster" is in the Official Selection for the Oscar Qualifying
at the 32nd Annual St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) in the USA from November 9 to 19, 2023, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. We absolutely can't wait to start sharing this film with US audiences. Congratulations to the whole team
We’re thrilled to announce "Jellyfish and Lobster". will be screening this November at the BAFTA/BIFA Qualifying. Norwich Film Festival
'Jellyfish and Lobster’ won Best Film at BAFTA and BIFA Qualifying Festivals. S.O.U.L Film Festival. Stars:- Flo Wilson - Sayed Badreya Writer- Director By Yasmin Afifi - Producer- Elizabeth Rufai
Come and calibrate with us, our Film " Jellyfish & Lobster" at BAFTA and BIFA Qualifying Festivals. S.O.U.L Film Festival (London) For the Screening 1-3 September 2023 At BFI SOUTHBANK London.
So honoured Jellyfish & Lobster has been selected to screen in competition as part of the 29th edition of the BAFTA/Oscar Qualifying Encounters Festival.
Our film will be screening at the Watershed in Bristol, as part of the National programme for the UK Award.
Brought together serendipitously in a moment of mischief, two elderly care home residents form an unlikely relationship when they make an enchanted discovery. But as they grapple with their inevitable mortality, they resort to radical methods of preserving their youthful past in an attempt to obtain the ultimate gift of immortality.