Monday, July 15, 2013

The Gatekeepers

2012, 95m, Drom Moreh
Shin Bet is a secretive Israeli organisation responsible for countering terrorism. As the film says, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. The film comprises a series of interviews with six former heads of the organisation. The film definitely leaves one with the feeling of an additional brush stroke to ones picture of the world. These elderly interviewees who headed an organisation in which eliminating people was an important duty come out as grandfatherly types with post retirement enlightenment to the futility of military means as a solution to conflict. A gripping movie rich in insightful dialog. In a telling remark someone says, "Our victory is to make you suffer." Even at the cost of one's own life, so deep runs the vein of mutual hatred.
From the script
"....Professor Leibowitz, a critic of the Occupation, wrote a year after the Six Day War, in 1968. "A state ruling over a hostile population of one million foreigners will necessarily become a fascist state, with all that this implies for education, freedom of speech and thought....the corruption found in every colonial regime will affix itself to Israel....the administration will have to suppress an Arab uprising on one hand and acquire Arab Quislings." ....the future is bleak..... it's a brutal occupation force....we've become cruel, using the excuse of a war against terror...... the tragedy of Israel's public security debate we face a situation in which we win every battle, but lose the war..."
A O Scott
"....consists of interviews with six men, all of them retired, most of them bald, one of them a grandfatherly type, well into his 80s, in suspenders and a plaid shirt......what is most astonishing about the interviews Mr. Moreh has recorded is how candid and critical these six spymasters are, inflecting their stories with devastating assessments successive governments.....they are hardly doves or bleeding hearts.....and their shared professional ethos of ruthless, unsentimental pragmatism is precisely what gives such force to their worries about the current situation..........if you need reassurance or grounds for optimism, you will not find it here...what you will find is unbearable clarity.."
Roger Ebert
"......these officers speak as some of the key men in the Israeli state apparatus....they are soldiers with clear assignments....having stepped down from their positions, they now believe  that the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end only with the annihilation of one or the other, is dead wrong. .....the strategy of vengeance and overkill is ineffective and leads to horrific behavior.....this film is the most pro-Israeli film I have seen..."


Anonymous said...

Check its fellow Oscar-nominee "5 Broken Cameras". They can make a terrific double feature together.

S. M. Rana said...

That's due for me now...