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From Israel's most important filmaker, CARMEL is Amos Gitai's (KADOSH, KIPPUR) deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary ... See full summary »
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Set seven days before the creation of the state of Israel in May 1948, a small rusted ship, with a group of concentration camp survivors from Shoah, is received at the new territory with open hostility. They are met by British troops, who are shooting at them, and are trying to forbid them from disembarking. As well, the survivors are met with guns blasts being shot by the Jewish secret army, who has come to help them. Only a small group actually succeeds in landing on the small beach, where they are able to experience their first hours in Palestine. Tired and hungry, the hopeful emigrants have then to follow the Jewish forces to immediately take up arms against the Arabs. Unspoken truths from both sides explode in the violent and tragic conflict. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
We don't have history, this is the fact. I don't know how to say this in Hebrew. But this is what it is. Our history is the way it is because of the Christians. We didn't want it be like this. We don't want it this way ever. They forced this on us,and we can't help it. Because of this, I am telling you, I'm against this. But I didn't say anything. She didn't exist because of me. You may find it hard to imagine that I am so intensely against this. I'm really disgusted. Think about it, what have ...
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interesting subject, original treatment, poor cinematography
Amos Gitai is one of the best known Israeli directors, quite successful in the circuit of the international cinema festivals. What a pity that his daring and fresh approach to the key moments of the Israeli history is not doubled, unfortunately, at least in this film, by appropriate cinema means.
The historical setting of 'Kedma' is the moment of the beginning of the state of Israel when immigrants from Europe, survivors of the Holocaust arrive in Israel aboard the illegal immigration boats, just to finds on the promised shore a new land of conflict. 'Kedma' is the name of an immigrants boat, as 'Exodus' was, and it deals with the same period as in Leon Uris's book and film 'Exodus', Certainly this important moment in history deserves a better treatment than the Hollywood one. It's a setting well entrenched in the collective memory of any Israeli and Palestinian. Gitai however is more interested in decomposing the historical myth rather than building or describing it.
There are a few good moments in this film. Gitai likes long shots, and the first scene of the film is a beautiful rendition of the immigrants boat, with a nice passing from private to very public life. Another set of scenes represent the communication, or rather the lack of communication between the groups in the new country - immigrants from Europe still in shock after the horrors of the Holocaust, local Jews, prototypes of the 'new Israelis' full of confidence but lacking the understanding of the problems of other groups, displaced Arabs, mis-guided by their leaders and terrorized by the show of force of the Jews starting the long march that will become some day the Palestinian refugees problem, opera-style British troops, all these groups of humans get together in well filmed scenes, but do not really communicate. This is one of the problems that lay at the origin of the Israeli-Arab conflict seems the author to say.
Despite some memorable scenes, the film does not come together as a consistent piece of cinema. Characters get lost, show up and die too fast, they are more an idea of what they could be than real screen characters. The problem is not the lack of message, but the means - the author focuses in two monologues (by the displaced Arab, and by the Polish Jew immigrant) that say a lot about the continuity of conflict and about heroism being no more than a form of despair in front of the vicissitudes of history, but these are theatrical or literary monologues, without a connection with the film environment where they are placed. 'Kedma' is memorable by its setting and message, but not a good film to remember.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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