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Canadian Premiere

Rabies Rabies Rabies Rabies

Hosted by Filmmakers Navot Papushado & Aharon Keshales

Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Fantasporto 2011

Screening Times

“One of the most original and deeply horrific films in recent memory… the most fun I've had with a horror flick all year” — Peter Gutierrez, TWITCH

“One of the meanest and funniest horror-comedies you'll ever see” — Andrew O’Hehir, SALON

“Wields a tart wit, several innovative twists on genre conventions and a heaping helping of bloody mayhem” — John Anderson, VARIETY


Director: Navot Papushado, Aharon Keshales
Screenplay: Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Ania Bukstein, Danny Geva, Yael Grobglas, Ran Danker, Ofer Shecter
Producers: Chilik Michaeli, Avraham Pirchi, Tami Leon, Julia Schifter
Print Source: Mongrel Media



Deep in an Israeli forest, a brother and sister are desperately trying to escape a serial killer. Meanwhile, a pack of teens are driving out into a very nearby part of the countryside. Elsewhere in the area, there are cops, both good and bad, patrolling the roads. Not far from there, an earnest park ranger and his girlfriend are starting their day. The cruel fortunes of fate will bring each across the others’ paths. Miscommunication, presumptions and primal instincts will ensure that few will be leaving this place alive. By the time this day is done, everyone’s lives will be smashed into a toxic cocktail of anger, vengeance and fear.

Brace yourself for the Canadian premiere of the film that is taking the international festival circuit by storm. Billed somewhat ironically as Israel’s first slasher film, RABIES, while indeed the first genre feature shot in that country and in the Hebrew language, isn’t quite what the label might lead you to expect. There is a serial killer and there is much slashing and bashing going on, but the hows and whys of where the escalating carnage emerges from turns genre tropes inside out in myriad of clever ways. Think more early Danny Boyle than Sean S. Cunningham or his scores of ‘80s imitators. It is human nature that’s the most dangerous of all evils on display here, and the homicidal killer in this film has amusingly little to do with its body count. Also, the title notwithstanding, rabies doesn’t figure into this film in any way, though the Latin translation of the word — “madness” — does happily apply. See the thread? RABIES is all about subverting expectations as a blood-soaked black comedy/horror/thriller that understands the genre conventions and uses them as sleight-of-hand to deliver one surprise after another like a twist-ripped celluloid corkscrew ground into your skull. When the smoke clears, perhaps a more significant first that RABIES will make the books with will be as the film that introduced the world to the joint scripting/editing/directing team of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, a talented pair of newcomers clearly poised for an exciting future. That they pulled the whole thing off on a $500,000 budget should make them overnight indie stars. But that’s beside the point. This film is heaps of misanthropic fun, with spikes of social commentary and a surprisingly affecting sense of tragedy stabbed into the mix for maximum potency. Mazel tov!

—Mitch Davis

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