by Greg Muskewitz
"Kippur" is the autobiographical tale of writer/director Amos Gitaï following his involvement in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. This is only the second of Gitaï's movies to be released here locally, the first being "Kadosh" last year. According to the press kit, this is his eighth non-documentary, but the biggest problem I have with his movies, aside from their indomitable tedium, is that they are fashioned in the likes of a documentary anyway.Two Israeli soldiers cannot find their unit once war breaks out, so as they randomly drive around, become recruited as a part of a helicopter-rescue squad, in which they slosh through mud trying to retrieve injured soldiers for medical treatment. "Kippur" is a jumbled hodge-podge, much to the reflection of the war itself. At least that seems to be the message Gitaï is trying to convey. The whole movie is a re-enactment of Gitaï's own experience of the war ("I'll show those stupid Arabs"), and it is almost convincing that the footage would have been taken from the war itself. However, Gitaï neglects to include any type of narrative in "Kippur," requiring us to meander around sporadically where ever the camera decides to take us. There is nothing involving, nothing unusual, nothing special about the way it's shown, only that it amounts to one giant bore. We start out with a sex scene in paint that even Asher Lev would have disapproved of, and all the meanwhile during the rest of the movie's entirety, we go from helicopter, to the ground, retrieval --not matter how easy or difficult-- return to land, sparse superficial conversations, and back to the same repetition of monotony. Everything is a constant atrophy on the nerves down to the Badalmentian sax score. Seemingly, scene after scene of the same thing, 15-minutes before the movie was to finish, I finished it first. There was no reason to stick it out, because it was nothing more than a möebius strip of unending war. Sure I get the allusion Gitaï is making to how war turns us into animals and is mindless slaughtering of human life. He points out that he wanted to emphasize the fatigue that war causes. But any movie about war --no matter how good or how bad-- has that same affect and understanding of war, whether it is "Saving Private Ryan," "The Thin Red Line," "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket" or "Paths of Glory." In the end of this mess, Gitaï's vision and systematic cycle has gotten us nowhere. It's an unfair manipulation of cinema as a form of communication. His type of movies seem to be much of the very personal level, but almost for a self-satisfaction only. I fail to see Gitaï as an important filmmaker on any level, and as I left, it was to my amusement to see one of the only other critics who had still stayed (only two were left when I exited), was standing in the back doing stretching exercises to keep awake. His movies are a bore, and besides the fact that the subjects he is filming on may interest him, he sure is very dubious about sharing his enthusiasm with the viewers.
"Narrativeless, effectiveless war-portrait by continually unproven director."
With Liron Levo, Tomer Ruso, Uri Ran Klauzner, Guy Amir and Juliano Merr.
http://www.landmark-theatres.comFinal Verdict: F.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4948&reviewer=172
originally posted: 04/19/01 19:45:00