< Back

Dolphin Boy

Directed by: Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir
72 Minutes, 2011, Documentary; Other Israel Film Festival

Morad, a teenager living in an Arab neighboorhood in Israel, had everything a teenager could want; he was socially popular, loved by his family, an athlete, and a good student. But after a cruel beating by his classmates, he becomes catatonic and withdraws from life. Instead of interring him in a mental institution, his doctor suggests dolphin-assisted therapy down in Eilat. Desperate to help his son, Morad’s father sells everything, leaves his job and family, moves to Dolphin Reef on the Red Sea, and vows not to return until the boy fully recovers. But even when Morad begins to speak again, he’s changed beyond what anyone could’ve expected. A moving film about nature’s power to heal.


Directors: Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir

Producer: Dani Menkin

Producer: Yonatan Nir

Producer: Judith Manassen-Ramon

Distributor: Dragoman Films


“…marbled with black humor but Israeli gumption triumphs by default.”

-Lisa Nesselson, Variety

“Sasson Gabai, in a surprisingly sympathetic performance, is the blocked Tel Aviv author who first mentors her and then publishes her work as his own.”

-Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader


“Political dramas and soap operas don't have much in common, which makes this hybrid as surprising as it is entertaining.”


Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune


“Notwithstanding the movie's complex politics, the Salmans could be any family gathered for a ceremonial occasion. The excellent ensemble provides a finely shaded group portrait of the clan whose internal tensions are exacerbated by politics.”

-Stephen Holden, The New York Times


“In addition to the force and the officialdom, dizzying and stark, there are particularly sharp stabs of feeling.”

-Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

“A great story, brilliantly told. Sir Nicholas Winton is pure inspiration. See this wonderful documentary to catch some of it...”

-Jennifer Merin, About.com

an enthralling documentary… lovely cinematography and lively editing…. surprisingly evocative.”

-Anita Gates, the New York Times


“A humane portrait of a troubled household and, by extension, a troubled country.”

-Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger

“Released as the settlements on the Gaza Strip were being dismantled, Cedar's film offers a refreshing new perspective of them and a sly critique of their origins.”

-Ken Fox, TV Guide’s Movie Guide

“Succeeds because Cedar skillfully develops his narrative, and he is ably helped by a strong cast led by Eshet and fine production.”

-Eric Monder, Film Journal International


"In the age of over-the-top special effects and multi-million dollar budgets, this film is a nod to really good storytelling; and the perfect reminder that a true story can make an incredible film." 

-Jasmine Amis, Colosoul

More grounded in simple observation than in fanciful theories, this effortlessly engaging story of sudden tragedy and halting recovery wisely focuses on the facts and leaves the wonder to the audience.”

-Jeannette Catsoulis, the New York Times

“Dolphin Boy stands as an example of how the pitfalls of potentially mushy material can be overcome by smart and sensitive direction.”


-Andrew Schenker, Village Voice