Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

מלחמת יום הכיפורים‎

Yom Kippur is one of, if not the holiest Jewish holiday. From what I hear, in Israel, the whole country shuts down - no retail, no public transportation, no television broadcasts, noone drives, noone flies. I've seen temple attendance quadruple here in the states as the secular Jews swarm in for the all important day of attonement.

Given that, the Yom Kippur War, the war in which Syria and Egypt picked Yom Kippur as the day to launch an offensive against Israel, was particularly low and disgusting. But not at all surprising.

I was curious about the Yom Kippur War because I knew little of it and my family who lived through it don't talk about it. So I rented Kippur for that reason, thinking the Amos Gitai-led and all-Israeli production would give a realistic protrayal. I'm not sure that I got that but I still enjoyed the film.

I think Kippur is a misunderstood film. There is relatively little action, relatively little dialogue and the plot is not elaborate. Basically, for two hours, we follow two medics who drive straight up to the front lines in a Fiat, pick a few soldiers up, then come home. There are no Hollywood heroics, no dramatic rescues and death is kept at a commonplace activity, right along side brushing your teeth.

This seems to be the message Amos Gitai was sending. War is not glamorous; there is no slick soundtrack and often dramatic rescues and narrow escapes exist only at the box office. He seemed to point a finger or two and the mechanical nature of war, its predictability, its ultimate uselessness and how despite it's recurrence, it still garners no more respect today than it did 1000's of years ago.

I see Gitai's point. And even if I don't agree with it entirely, I can certainly respect his ability to get his point across in a constructive way.

Now, if someone could explain the opening/closing sequences of love making in paint, I would really appreciate it! :)


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Blogger Michael said...

I saw this movie, and my reaction was similar to yours.
It's pretty typical of Israel war movies not to glorify the war, and I think that's a good thing. It probably has a lot to do with so many Israelis being combat veterans. Which probably also has a lot to do with so many Israelis not really being willing to talk about the various wars, especially if they were in the heat of them. It was still a good movie, though. With the bare-bones plot, it ran very much like a documentary.

One point of serious inaccuracy: the weather. The movie showed far more rain than there was at the time. October 73 was right before the rainy season, and was dry for that time of year anyway. So the muddy battlefied should have been a dusy battlefield. Otherwise, I have heard that this movie was a reasonably good portrayal of the war.

I have no idea about the paint/sex scenes either. My wife thought it was stupid, low-grade porn.

1:25 AM

Blogger Jim said...


I figured that was why noone wanted to talk about it. Its the same reason I never felt much like talking about the crazy guy that came into our building and gunned down 7 people (when I lived in SF).

Interesting about the discrepancy in weather, I would have never noticed!

I had the same reaction to the opening/closing scene as your wife did. They just didnt fit and seemed to be gratuitous. However, an artsy-fartsy friend of mine explained that they were the only two scenes with color. She felt it was to contrast, even more, the drudgery of war.

9:10 AM

Blogger Michael said...

an artsy-fartsy friend of mine explained that they were the only two scenes with color.

It would take an artsy-fartsy type to notice that.

12:56 PM

Blogger The Persian said...

I have to make a point to see this film. I posted today on the simmering situation in Iran with a very interesting vintage video interview with Rezah Pahlavi from 1974 you might find interesting.

Have a great weekend Jim!


12:51 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Jim: You might like Kippur, although I think its better to see it when you're feeling introspective.

7:39 AM


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