New to VOD this week: RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS
Erez Laufer’s chronicle of the assassinated Israeli prime minister debuted at Haifa last year, where it won the best documentary award. Its circuit has also included Hot Docs, Cleveland, Other Israel, and the Atlanta, Toronto, and Miami Jewish fests.
Constructed almost entirely from archival sources featuring Yitzhak Rabin, including public appearances, interviews, and personal letters, Laufer’s film, per its title, functions as almost an autobiography of the Israeli politician, who was twice elected prime minister, as well as serving as the nation’s US Ambassador and minister of defense. Demonstrating his skillful editing, Laufer directs Rabin’s own voice to relate the leader’s life and career, from personal reflections on a strict upbringing and about meeting his wife, to candid thoughts on his involvement in nation-defining events like the Six Day War as head of the Israeli Defense Forces. Summarizing decades of public service against the backdrop of ever-present tensions or all-out conflict in the Middle East, Laufer uses some shortcuts that may prove unclear to viewers not intimately aware of Israeli politics and history, but, for the most part, the film provides just enough context to remain always engaging. The film is particularly compelling as it lays out Rabin’s contentious diplomatic efforts with the PLO for peace through the Oslo Accords, which sadly led ultraconservative factions to rally against Rabin, inspiring Yigal Amir to assassinate him in 1995.