"He wrote me...." A woman narrates the thoughts of a world traveler, meditations on time and memory expressed in words and images from places as far-flung as Japan, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, ... See full summary »
When Juliette marries Jean, she comes to live with him as he captains a river barge. Besides the two of them, are a cabin boy and the strange old second mate Pere Jules. Soon bored by life ... See full summary »
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, ... See full summary »
A new immigrant, Tzelnik, arrives at the port of Jaffa. He goes to live in the Negev desert where he opens a kiosk in the middle of nowhere. Mizrachi comes along and opens a competing ... See full summary »
This is a rare opportunity in film. At approx. 5 hours it may be a bit much for the average viewer, the premise is a documentary on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF=Tsahal) but really it is about unfolding more aspects of Israeli self and identity. For the filmmaker, the project goes back to Shoah and Pourqouis Israel the latter of which I have written about here.
It is a rare opportunity not so much for what you learn about the army. Yes, it is one of the most rigorously trained armed forces in the world, had to be. Yes, the army is so pervasive in everyday life that almost every single Israeli prime minister's career can be traced back to the military and war. The current one, Netanyahu, was a special ops commando.
Armed duty is a matter of both pride and necessity for Israeli youth, accepted without complaint. I have experience with both the army in general and tanks up close, having served in both the infantry and the technician corps in an advanced base factoryenough to tell the Israelis are professional and committed. There's no rah-rah, not that we see anyway.
Lanzmann has largely avoided emphasis, in this as in the previous Pourquois Israel, on the outright crazy Zionists, though a zealot settler is interviewed. He has once more marginalized Palestinians, which may be explained as being closer to the Israeli experiencewe see them pass through checkpoints, Gaza kids as they throw rocks but those are passing glimpses.
So watch this to be informed. How does the military commander of Gaza drive through hostile streets, fast or slow?
Even better, inhabit the life. Let the film watch you for a while. What is it you see of you? Is it judgement? Appreciation? For me, the meandering voices of officers as they relate past experiences of war or strategyamong them two later prime ministers, Barak and Sharon then still generals in the armybegan to phase out after a while, the lingering shots of landscape remained. Israel is a beautiful country, peculiar as defined by abstractions.
Sand dunes, barbed wire, aerial views of the sea or planted fields surrounded by desert. Ugly high-rises of the new Jewish settlers of the West Bank. The drive through desolate Gaza City from behind armor-plated glass.
The self attempts control of the elements in both what it builds and what stories it tells, both framing realitysome of it recorded on tape or film, some of it remembered, some of it reasoned to be so. Some of these views will last, others come to pass.
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