Ha-Shoter Azulai (The Policeman) (1971)




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This Israeli film is a good-hearted, gentle, bittersweet comedy about a policeman and his friends. Azulai (Shaike Ophir) is beloved by everyone who knows him -- his police colleagues and the criminals on his beat. He is also completely ineffectual at law enforcement. However, he has a dazzling command of biblical authorities, which comes in useful when dealing with religious conflicts. Because he was born in Morocco, he speaks French, which comes in handy when a group of Parisian police come visiting. It's not enough. He has been on the force for 20 years, and his contract is up for renewal. His police superiors cannot bring themselves to keep him on, despite their love of him. The gang of robbers who live in his district also love him, and are also afraid that a more competent policeman will replace him. They arrange for Azulai to catch them red-handed in a nefarious crime, which takes a lot of doing, as Azulai keeps missing the obvious clues they dangle in front of him. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi


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