Kedma (2002)

AMOS GITAI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  Italy/Israel/France, 2002, , , , , .  Screenplay by Amos Gitai, , , based on the novel by Haim Hazaz.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Amos Gitai, , , .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Cannes Film Festival 2002.  Toronto International Film Festival 2002.  

The title is the name of a ship that brings refugees to a newly forming Israel following the devastation of life for Jews in Europe during World War II.  People barely clinging to survival arrive in a land already overcome with strife, shot at by the English while all around them are Arabs fleeing from Jewish settlements.  Encounters between all groups bring no end of conflict, captured beautifully by Amos Gitai’s incredible talent for long tracking shots that are performed smoothly and encompass a wide scope of personal and political action.  None of the characterizations really stick, however, either because they are drawn too vaguely or because Gitai, in his desire to not be manipulative, stays too far away from them and the action is only periodically involving.  The reasonable running time of less than two hours feels like it takes ages to get itself over with.

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