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The eventful story of Golda Meir's term as Prime Minister of Israel - from her surprising rise to power and iconic international stature as "queen of the Jewish people", to her tragic and lonely demise.
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Credited cast:
Uri Avneri ... Self
Yossi Beilin Yossi Beilin ... Self
Meron Medzini Meron Medzini ... Self
Golda Meir ... Self (archive footage)
Zvi Zamir Zvi Zamir ... Self


Shortly before her passing, Golda Meir was interviewed for Israeli television. After shooting ended, the cameras kept rolling, recording an intimate talk with the first and only woman to ever rule Israel. As she lit one cigarette after the other, Golda spoke freely, pleading her case for her term as Prime Minister - five turbulent years that secured her place in history, albeit at a high personal cost. Based on these never-before seen materials, testimonies of supporters and opponents and rare archival footage, GOLDA tells the story of Meir's dramatic premiership - from her surprising rise to power and iconic international stature as "queen of the Jewish people", to her tragic and lonely demise.

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excellent documentary about a controversial politician
25 December 2019 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

The historical perception left behind by Golda Meir is very different in Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora. The Jews of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well as those in the United States remember her as one of the remarkable figures of the founding generation of the State of Israel, the immigrant who came as a young woman in the Mandatory Palestine and became an activist for independence, later a minister and the first (and the only one so far) woman Prime Minister of Israel, with a significant contribution to the emigration of Jews from Europe to Israel and their integration in the new country. The majority of Israelis keep of her a completely different image, that of the failed prime minister largely responsible for the 'surprise' of the Yom Kippur war that resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Israeli soldiers, missing peace opportunities with Egypt that could have avoided war, showing political shortsightedness about the Palestinian problems or about internal issues such as the social and economic status of Sephardi Jews. Few talk about her in Israel in recent years. The documentary film 'Golda', which premiered this spring at the Docaviv Festival, made by a trio composed of Sagi Burnstein, Udi Nir and Shani Roznes, may reopen the debate about this controversial personality. I saw the film in one of its first public screenings at the local cinematheque.

The Israeli television archives provide surprises to documentary filmmakers and make us nostalgic for a period when politicians - including prime ministers - came to discuss with reporters, sharing with the public their memories as well as opinions on the current affairs. That was the case of the documentary film 'Ben Gurion, Epilog' which was screened a few years ago, this is the case with 'Golda' where a 1978 interview, shot off-the-record a few months before Golda's death, and accidentally found in the TV archives, provides the structure on which the film is built. Golda refers in the interview to the 1969-1974 period and the main moments that defined her tenure as the prime minister. It was a succession of painful crisis. She led Israel in a time when the country spiraled down from the euphoria of the victory in the Six-Day War to the existential threat during the Yom Kippur War and the economic and moral depression that followed. Golda's images and voice in the interview are combined with sequences from the filmed actuality journals and the testimonies of people who were close to her during that period - politicians, journalists, family members. One of the points that can be reproached to the authors is that those who speak are mostly selected from the political sectors of the Israeli left, or those who have reasons to have remained resentful of her. At least by now, at least in Israel, she does not seem to have too many fans in posterity.

My guess is that 'Golda' the movie will also be perceived differently in Israel and abroad. Many Israelis (and the commentaries in the discussion that followed the film, with Udi Nir's participation, confirmed this) will argue that the portrait is too "humanized" in relation to the historical mistakes of Golda and their consequences. In Diaspora, the film will create amazement among those who keep Golda in their memories as a positive figure, one of the founding parents of the re-born Jewish nation. I think that one of the merits of the film is that it helps the viewers understand that some of her limits - ideological dogmatism, political blindness, prejudices towards Arabs and Jews of Sefardic origin - have the sources in her education and personal history on one hand, and the age which eventually caught up with her on the other hand. Even if the balance is inclined towards the negative aspects, the film also shows some of the qualities of character and political positions that we can appreciate: the total dedication to the Zionist cause (as she perceived it), the focus on the social issues and her contributions to building a 'welfare state' in the 50s, the care for the soldiers sent to risk their lives to implement government policies, her personal modesty, and her simple style of life and work. At the end of the discussion co-director Udi Nir was asked what his feelings about Golda are after working for three years on the making of this film. His answer, half ironical, was that in perspective, looking at those who followed her, his appreciation is positive.

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Hebrew | English

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7 January 2020 (Canada) See more »

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