A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.
Yes, the film relies extensively on the old documentary trope of the well lit talking head, but The Gatekeepers triumphs in its masterful incorporation of actual Israeli military footage of aerial and ground attacks, and even more so by the photographs which through remarkable computer enhancement are rendered sculptural. The way these black & white still photos are made to spring to 3 dimensional life is a sublimely potent metaphor for the ability of artful storytelling to reanimate presumably long dead history. The words of the various former leaders of the Shin Bet carry an undeniable gravitas and echo in the mind and soul as we are visually guided on a tour of their previously little known realm. By focusing on the subtle variations and contradictions of each speaker's version of events and policies and tactics we are made acutely aware of the generations old conflict's profound effect upon the psyches of everyone involved. The most confident and stoic of the former leaders is possessed of a deep sense of tragedy. Avraham Shalom - who headed Shin Bet from 1981 to 1986 during the time of an incident where two Palestinian prisoners were ordered killed while being held in captivity - casually denies his culpability but it's apparent that the incident has inflicted deep wounds which even today are still very tender.
The mind bending paradoxes of the seemingly intractable conflict have left their mark on all these competent, eloquent and even brave men, and some are willing to admit that perhaps they have behaved immorally and even criminally while also acknowledging the irony of their cruel treatment of Palestinians as inexcusable behavior for a people as historically mistreated as the Jews. It's a desperately poignant moment when the individual men all express their doubts and even contempt for the political leaders who so brazenly exploit the horrific conflict for their own ends. These six men who were charged with the gruesome task of eliminating threats to Israel's security are oddly some of the most compelling critics of their nation's treatment of the Palestinians.
- Mar 10, 2013