Saturday, May 19, 2012

949. KIPPUR (2000)

Running Time: 121 minutes
Directed By: Amos Gitai
Written By: Amos Gitai, Michael Propper, Laurent Truchot
Main Cast: Liron Levo, Tomer Russo, Uri Klauzner, Yoram Hattab, Juliano Mer-Khamis
Click here to view the trailer


I'm not joking when I say I was lulled to sleep by this film not once, but twice. "Kippur" is currently streaming on Netflix, so for anyone who has the service and needs a good night's sleep, it comes with my highest recommendation. However, if you're in search of a good movie, it comes with the exact opposite of a highest recommendation.

To relay the films plot would be about as boring as watching the film itself, so I'll sum it up as quickly as I can and get you good folks on with your lives. The film is directed by Amos Gitai and tells of the Yom Kippur War, a war that lasted only a couple of weeks in October of 1973. The war began when Syrian and Egyptian forces made a surprise attack on Israel on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The film follows two men, Weinraub (Levo) and Russo (Russo), who are looking for their unit. The two never find their unit and are instead called upon by Dr. Klauzner (Klauzner), a doctor who serves on an Air Force base. The two give him a ride and are whisked into the middle of battle.

That's really all you need to know. The rest of the film requires much patience from the viewer, as we simply follow these men into battle, as they pick up wounded soldiers and transport them out of the battlefield. There isn't any great dialogue, there isn't any poignant music, there's simply nothing else. This is, perhaps, the biggest head scratcher of them all, as it pertains to why it was in THE BOOK. I just cannot comprehend what would posses the writers of this book to include this film in it's pages. It's the same war scenes we've seen hundreds of times before, men sloshing around in the mud and caring for wounded men. I realize that Amos Gitai actually served in the Yom Kippur War and probably wanted an outlet to tell his story and the story of the brothers he lost on the battlefield, but this just wasn't a good movie, period. War films are a dime a dozen to me and you could buy this one for a nickel.

Surprisingly though, it's not all bad. I must rest from tearing this film apart for one moment and talk about the opening scene, perhaps one of the most beautiful and unique opening scenes I've ever witnessed. The film opens with a shot of an empty Israeli street. After a while, we catch a glimpse of a man walking down the street and slowly, he gets closer. We cut away from that and are taken to an extreme close-up of an empty canvas of white. Soon, colors start to get splattered on the canvas: reds, blues, greens.  Hands are then shown, still in extreme close-up, clawing at the paint, letting it ooze between their fingers. We realize that we're dealing with two sets of hands, as two people grasp for one another, allowing their skin to be soiled by the colors. We slowly start to pan out and realize that it's a man and woman making love on the canvas, enveloped in the colors, covered, head to toe, in paint. It's a mesmerizing scene and made me excited (in more ways than one) to watch this movie. We revisit the scene at the end of the film.

It's sad that such a beautifully mesmerizing scene exists in such a dull movie. If I made a "TOP 20 Scenes" list every time I finished 100 films, then I'd surely add the paint scene from this movie...but I don't. "Kippur" is slow, dull and pulls impatience out of the most patient of movie goer. It's the same war images that we've seen a thousand times, in better war movies. I don't discredit the actual war or Amos Gitai for wanting to talk about his life experiences, I simply discredit his movie making skills.

RATING: 3/10  I had to give it a little credit for that one scene, but otherwise take a pass on "Kippur"...unless you need a nap.


May 19, 2012  4:52pm

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