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Hanna K. (1983)

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An Israeli lawyer is defending a Palestinian charged by The Military Court System in the Israeli-Occupied Territories. It's a tough case because of a strong political background.



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Title: Hanna K. (1983)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Yanne ...
Victor Bonnet
Joshua Herzog
Selim Bakri (as Mohammed Bakri)
Shimon Finkel ...
Prof. Leventhal
Oded Kotler ...
The 'stranger'
Michal Bat-Adam ...
Russian woman
Dafna Levy ...
Dan Muggia ...
Capt. Allenby-Bridge
Robert Sommer ...
Bruno Corazzari ...
Court president
Amnon Kapeliouk ...
Prison director
Dalik Volonitz ...
Sergeant at checkpoint


An Israeli lawyer is defending a Palestinian charged by The Military Court System in the Israeli-Occupied Territories. It's a tough case because of a strong political background.

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Release Date:

7 September 1983 (France)  »

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Referenced in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Gripping at times but too convoluted
6 March 2006 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

**SPOILERS** Controversial political director Cosat-Garvas' attempt to show the Israeli-Palestine dispute should be commended for his even-handedness in trying to explain both sides of that Middle-East conflict. Still the movie's overdone love triangle between Hanna Kaufman, Jill Claybuarg, and both her estranged husband Frenchman Victor Bonnet, Jean Yanne, her Israeli prosecutor lover Joshua Herzog, Gabriel Byrne, the father of her child David as well as the terrorist suspect Hanna defends Selim Bakri, Mohammed Bakri, made the film a bit to hard to digest.

Hanna an American émigré to Israel is a court appointed lawyer in the Jerusalem Judaical System. Pregnant with her lovers, Joshua, child Hanna want's an abortion. With abortions illegal in Israel she books a flight to Paris to have the procedure done there and meets her estranged husband Victor at the David Ben-Gurion Airport.

Planning to leave the next day for Paris Hanna is called to the courthouse to defend a suspected terrorist who demands that she represent him and is willing to pay Hanna, $2,000.00, for her services. It turns out that the defendant is Selim Bakri a person who Hanna successfully defended some time ago. Postponing her leaving Israel, to Victor's great displeasure, Hanna opts to defend Bakri and at the same time to go full term with Joshua's child.

As Hanna takes up Selmi's case it causes friction between her and Joshua who feels that Selim is a threat to the state of Israel and should be put away for life. Salmi is anything but a dangerous terrorist but a homeless Palestinian who want's to go back home to his ancestors farm in Israel that's been bulldozed and turned into an Israeli settlement.

The Israeli courts, and government, know that Selim's dispute with them will lead, if Hanna wins his case, to thousands of claims by homeless Palestinians to be repatriated back to their homes in Israel. That in the end would upset and even destroy the Jewish State by making Jews a minority in their own country.

Trying to offer Selim a South African citizenship in order to legally emigrate and live in Israel the Israeli court hopes to defuse this very explosive situation that they find themselves in, Selim has documents that date back to 1876 proving his families ownership of the disputed property. Determined to see his case go to Israeli supreme court Selim wouldn't budge and is sentenced to eight months in prison for entering Israel illegally.

Out of jail, after an almost fatal hunger strike, and put in the custody of Hanna until he's deported back to Jordan Selim despite his sweetness towards Hanna and her son David, whom he calls little Omar, is later suspected of a terrorist bombing of the Israeli village of Kafar Ramin. The Jewish settlement that was built over the ruins his family's farm and where he was seen, by Hanna among others, snooping around the last few days up until about an hour before the village was bombed.

Hanna now not knowing what to say or do is in danger of losing her son David to Joshua, who's determined to have Selim arrested for the terrorist bombing meanwhile Selim seems to have disappeared, or run away. The movie ends with Hanna scared for her life for defending and even falling in love with the non-Jewish, and suspected Arab terrorist, Selim Bakri answering her door bell only to find a company of Israeli soldiers guns cocked and ready to fire looking for the missing Selim. We never know for sure if Selim is responsible for the terrorist attack on Kafar Ramin or if he even tried to check out of the country.

Joshua who was, together with Selim, at Hanna's house when the news about the terrorist attack came on the TV news didn't even bother to arrest Selim who at first looked like he was making a run for it only to go back into the bedroom to take little David out in the kitchen for his lunch. You wondered why Selim would have run away, if that's what he did, after acting so passive and innocent during the entire movie?

There's a lot you can find wrong with Costa-Gavras' "Hanna K" but one thing that can be said in it's favor is that the film addresses issues about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that almost all films, that are very few in number, about the subject never dare to even touch.

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