Kippur

2000, Movie, NR, 123 mins

Review

KIPPUR | DE HAN | KIPPOUR
starstarstarstar
No glory, just plenty of guts. Israeli director Amos Gitai's remarkable ground-level view of war in the raw is completely devoid of the things one expects from a war film: No heroes, no flag-waving, no screeds against man killing man. Set amid the chaos of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israel was simultaneously attacked by Syria and Egypt on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, there's very little plot. One minute, Weinraub (Liron Levo) is making love to his girlfriend, and the next he and fellow reservist Ruso (Tomer Ruso) are racing toward the Golan Heights, where Syrian forces have attacked Israel's northernmost border. Unable to locate their unit, Weinraub and Ruso fall in with an airborne rescue team and are immediately sent out with a doctor (Uri Ran Klauzner) and a helicopter crew led by Captain Yoram (Yoram Hattab) to evacuate injured Israeli soldiers from the battlefield. Whatever euphoria Sgt. Weinraub and Lt. Ruso may have initially felt about the conflict is quickly dispelled the minute they hit the field: The losses are heavy and the injuries are horrifying. The film is closely based on Gitai's own experiences during the Yom Kippur War when, as a young student of architecture in the early '70s, he suddenly found himself in an air rescue unit and was nearly killed when his chopper was hit by a missile over Syria. Perhaps more than any war film in recent memory, KIPPUR is about the actual work of combat. Nowhere is this better shown than in one long, merciless take during which Weinraub and his cohorts struggle to pull a seriously wounded soldier out of the mud. There's no enemy in sight and no sense of a battle being fought for any just cause — just whistling bombs, tanks bumbling blindly around the smoky battlefield like bumper cars, and grim evidence of what war does to human bodies and the earth they inhabit. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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