35 mm, DCP, HD - 2012 - Israel, France, Italy - 93 Min - Color
Carmel (original title)
A film by Amos Gitai
Amos Gitai creates a kaleidoscope of images and associations from the distant Jewish past and the immediate Israeli present and brings us a deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary fragments, Gitai links his family history to ancient history. Through exquisitely composed long takes, he begins the film with his country’s biography, especially during the Roman siege of Masada during the Jewish rebellion of the first century (C.E.), and contrasts them to the young soldiers enlisting in Israel's army today, including his own son, making the film "a passionate expression of Mr. Gitai's anguish at living in a country in a continual state of war" (Stephen Holden, The New York Times).
The cycles of violence are never-ending, but so are the bonds of family. With Jeanne Moreau narrating poems, letters, and journal entries and "abstractly beautiful" (V. A. Musetto, New York Post) cinematography by Stefano Falivene, we are taken into a dreamlike state of overlapping images from different periods of Amos Gitai’s life and that of his mother Efratia, linking generations of Jews and Israelis within the warm embrace of memory.
Carmel feels like a cinematic poem. Its sequences and incidents are not designed to construct a linear narrative, as if chaos would be the only possibility in the world Amos Gitai sees around him. Sounds, music and images bang together. So is Gustav Mahler’s 1st Symphony bursting through the claustrophobic reality of people engaged in war or in an account of Amos Gitai's personal exploits as a soldier shot down in a helicopter during the Yom Kippur War. The filmmaker has turned into a great chronicler of his country.