Very Personal and Realistic Look on War Uniquely Captured
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 03/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It happened in 1973. On Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), October 6, war broke out between Syria-Egypt and Israel. During the 19 days of the Arab-Israel war, director Amos Gitai joined the Israeli Army. But the helicopter which was carrying him and other seven soliders was shot down by a missile attack.Though one was killed and many severely injured, Gitai survived it, and 27 years later he turned his experience into this movie. (The final scene of the film actually comes directly from his own experience.) Therefore, "Kippur" is a very personal look on war, avoiding cross-fire battle-scenes we ususlly see in so-called war movies. Rather, the film depicts the confusion of war as the director himself once witnessed; there is no "enemy" (of course, from the viewpoint of Israel) in sight. Lots of tanks are wildly running with roaring engines, and they keep on shooting cannons, but we don't see the results of these attacks. We hear the sound of shells and airplanes, but we don't see soldiers killed by them (though many dead bodies appear). And the soldiers yell and shout to each other, but their voices are not often intelligible. But this total confusion is the point of the film.Consequeltly, the story is very thin. We follow the protagonist Weinraub (Liron Levo), but he cannot report to his section of the Amry because it already started, leaving him and his friend behind. They accidentally join the rescue team (because a doctor whose car is broken asked them to give him a lift), which must carry the injured soldiers back to hospital by helicopter. All those "actions" are shot with as few cuts as possible; once the camera starts to shoot the soldiers, it dwells on them, following closely their confused behaviors, which do not always go smooth.So, complaints about the film's lingering camera shots, which may make some of viewers sleepy, are understandable. Still we sense the director's intention there, and we should respect it. The final scene of rescuing a heavily wounded pilot is especially time-comsuming, and may be boring to some though its potential power of realism is undeniable. The soldiers struggle in the muddy ground of the Golan Hights (where the film was shot); they slip and fall many times; they can little advance; one of them almost loses his mind; these haunting scenes, which are slowly developed on screen, are exactly the strength of the film, which conveys the reality of the war in Gitai's unique and even daring fashion.I must admit "Kippur" is not for everybody. However, if you prefer something original, you got it here. Like Samuel Fuller's "The Big Red One," it is very personal, but at the same time very universal and immediate."
Dreamlike art house war movie
M. Veiluva | Walnut Creek, CA United States | 05/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Kippur" is not your typical war movie. There are no heroes - just two reservists who get swept up in the backwash of the 1973 Yom Kippur war while looking for their already mobilized and departed unit. It is like one of those nightmares where you know you have to be somewhere to take an exam/go to an interview/go to work, and somehow, you just can't get there. Kippur tells us almost nothing about the details of the 1973 campaign (which Israel, surprised, came fairly close to losing, since it is really after conveying the sheer randomness and chaos of war from the worm's eye point of view. Unlike our modern Iraq adventures, it is likely the average grunt knew very little about what was happening in the next town or valley, or whether the war was being own or lost. The persepctive was interesting to someone raised with the media-enhanced viewpoint, after the 1967 war, that the Israeli military ran like a Swiss watch. In "Kippur", we learn that like our own army mired in Iraq, these are just weekend soldiers trying to get by.This is a European-flavoured film, so it is bookended by equally dreamlike sex scenes ("Thin Red Line" tried this in a tamer way) which makes the movies' R-rating well deserved."
A GREAT film!! Destined to get a lukewarm response.
Rodney A. Brett | Emeryville, California | 10/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"KIPPUR is a great film that is bound to get a negative response from general American audiences that are too used to the narrative cliques, characters, scenarios and general plot devises that have become the prerequisite elements in American war films of the past several decades(i.e. fast and disorienting battle scenes cut with slow metaphorical dramatic moments and flashback sequences). KIPPUR intellingently avoids these things NOT just for the sake of being different or to bore or annoy the audience but to show that the particular war being portrayed is an entirely different one altogether. What KIPPUR has accomplished through it's one-day time frame and linear narrative is the banality and monotany of a conflict like this. A war that seems almost like a dream to its inhabitants(the films moody slow jazz score contributes to this feel). The two main characters at the beginning of the film are literally "driving" to war, shooting the breeze as if going to a regular day of work. Here is a conflict that has dragged on for so long, that is has become engraved in the very culture and everyday routines of its people. You can see it in the faces of emotionally repressed men who have become desensitized to the violence and only become distraught when their initial defenses are broken down. The long take of the soldiers dragging and dropping the injured through the mud culminating in the weaping and arguing of the men clearly conveys the pointlessness of it all. These men cry not mainly because of a sense of indignation or sorrow but more out of sheer frustration. However, even despite these epiphanal moments of the human condition that are supposed to be self changing, the men really just want to get through the day and go home and continue there regular lives. Indeed, they do return home, unchanged, continuing their domestic routines, Slowly losing their soul. RECOMMEDED VIEWING."
THIS is the true face of war
Chief Rocko | Cleveland, Ohio | 06/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An amazing film. I've served in both the U.S. and Israeli militaries, and seen combat in both. This is the closest thing to reality I've ever seen in a film.
The confusion of the Yom Kippur War is legendary. I lost my brother and his wife during the first few days. This film is hard to watch, seeing the Israeli military of which I am so proud, struggle and stagger under hammer blows from Syria and Egypt. The traffic jams of civilians and military mixed up in complete confusion. The radio playing urgent announcements set to martial music followed by tapioca pop music. The newspaper announcements casually announcing cancellations of graduations and excursions, along with "Be strong and courageous" exhortations.
To anyone expecting a Hollywood "guts and glory film", or a peacenik "all soul searching and folly of war" story, go elsewhere - but it is YOU who SHOULD see this film. No epic battle scenes set to stirring music. The war is in the background yet all around. This is the war a foot soldier sees. Confusion, tedium, sadness, friendship... The scene in the mud is devastatingly gruelling - sorry Hollywood movie lovers, you're not going to see the hero, just finished reading a love letter from his sweetheart grabbing a wounded man and carrying him out single handed. No. Four burly men, stuck in an impossible situation, struggling to get one man out. The end of the scene is devastating, and the actors convey just how hopeless their characters feel. The scenes of fields torn to shreds by tanks, no apparent reason or order in the trails, is stunning.
There are so many amazing scenes in this film. The stark reality is brutal and pitiless. The helicopter crash landing is handled in a perfect way - no explosions and heroics, just men struggling to survive. As in real life, the survivors are not jumping into action, nor is there one hero who takes charge. They are stunned and hurt, the world stands still.
This film is a must see. This film is Israel. There is no bravado or flag waving, no depictions of "evil Arabs" (in one scene, the characters are looking at a newspaper, and grow quiet upon seeing a photo of a captured Syrian). Neither is there any scene of "evil Israelis" trying to oppress anyone or using dirty tricks. It is a depiction of a country at war, no marches, no speeches. A wounded pilot saying he wants to be with his mother. Two soldiers talking, and one saying "Here I was going to say I miss my girlfriend, and you've just told me about your mother and the Nazis". This is Israel. No miracles, paperwork in a hospital. No charges up hills, just confusion on a road. Used Fiats and soldiers grumbling about officers behind their backs.
I was not prepared for this movie. It was completely NOT what I was expecting. It is War As It Is. It is Israel. It is humanity."