Blaumilch Canal

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Blaumilch Canal
Directed by Ephraim Kishon
Produced by Roni Ya'ackov
Starring Bomba Tzur
Nissim Azikri
Shaike Ophir
Shraga Friedman
Release dates
1969 (Israel)
November 10, 1970 (U.S.)
July 10, 1969 (West Germany)
Running time
95 minutes (87 minutes in the German version)
Country Israel
Language Hebrew

Blaumilch Canal (international release title: The Big Dig) is a 1969 Israeli comedy directed by Ephraim Kishon, which depicts the madness of bureaucracy through a municipality’s reaction to the actions of a lunatic.

The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

A lunatic with a digging compulsion (Blaumilch) escapes from an asylum, steals a jackhammer and proceeds to open up a main street and traffic artery in Tel Aviv (Allenby Street). Rather than question his actions, the police, as well as city officials, assume he is operating under the municipality’s orders and aid him as much as they can. Complaints from local residents, whose lives become a living hell due to the noise and traffic jams, lead to infighting amongst city departments. To speed up the work, so that it would be completed before the start of the municipal elections, the city sends armies of construction workers and heavy equipment to help the lone compressor, turning a mere annoyance into a full blown disaster.

By the time the city officials realize they are destroying a street without any plans or goals it is too late: Allenby Street is connected with the Mediterranean Sea and a canal is created. The mayor then declares, in a flamboyant opening ceremony, that Tel Aviv has been turned into the Venice of the Middle East. The lone citizen (a low-ranking municipal administrator named Ziegler) who realized that the 'project' was the work of a lunatic, is laughed at, and branded a lunatic himself.

In the final scene, Blaumilch is seen digging up Kings of Israel Square (Later renamed Rabin Square) near Tel Aviv's municipality building.


Production notes[edit]

Blaumilch Canal was the largest Israeli movie production at the time it was made. Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street was reconstructed in Herzelia Studios, as well as a 100-foot (30 m) long canal. The cast consisted of some of the most prominent Israeli actors of the time, as well as hundreds of extras.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kaye, Helen (12 April 2002). "All in a life's work". Jerusalem Post. p. 16.