Mish Mish

Didier Frenkel rarely spoke with his father about the large collection of film cans and editing equipment in the basement of his Paris home. Following his death, Didier began to take stock of his father’s life and was astounded by what he uncovered: a major piece of Middle-Eastern animation history that had been lost for decades. Along with his brothers David and Herschel, Didier’s father Shlomo Frenkel was one-third of Frenkel Pictures Productions, animators of the extremely popular Egyptian cartoon character Mish-Mish Effendi. The affable character’s name originated from the Arabic saying “Bukra Fil Mish-Mish”, roughly translating to “tomorrow, when the apricots bloom”, meaning something that will never happen. Tragically, the Frenkels’ animation career would also never fully bloom; following Israeli independence in 1948, life for Egyptian Jews grew increasingly difficult, and the young animators decided to pack up their films and move their families to France. Facing highly accomplished competition and economic hardship in their new home, the Frenkels’ were never able to duplicate their successful formula and faded into obscurity, leaving no trace of their work back in their homeland. Director Tal Michael spent over seven years with Didier Frenkel, his siblings, and their mother Marcelle, gaining a candid glimpse into the history of the Frenkels’ once promising career.

NOTE: This film is geo-blocked to the San Francisco Bay Area

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