Policeman השוטר (Ha-Shoter)
I saw Policeman השוטר 2014 at the Jewish Film Festival two and a half years ago. It was a riveting experience. I was astounded by its power, yet no one else had heard of it. Finally, after a long search, I was able to buy the movie. Do you recall the “Occupy Tel Aviv” protests; tent-city protests over the price of Israelis’ beloved ‘cottage’ and the price of rental units in Tel Aviv? A major focus of the protests were what organizers have termed social justice, about changing the social order and the economic system. Calls to topple the government were made by some parts of the protests along with criticism of the widening gap between rich and poor.
Enter Nadav Lapid, the director of Policeman, an hypnotic, slow-building shocker, which carefully slides the narrative pieces into place, revealing Mr. Lapid’s intentions. Yaron, an elite special operations squad leader, is the spiritual leader and alpha male among his peers, a small, highly trained team that is part of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s anti-Terrorism unit. These men work, play, laugh, and cry together.
Then white-out. The antagonists are introduced: a small group of politically extreme individuals with their own vision of how Israeli society should be—would-be Jewish revolutionaries planning a violent action. “It is time for the poor to get rich and the rich to start dying.” These are two bands of true believers hurtling toward a collision (M. Dargis, NY Times; 6, 12, 2014). The third group represent the ultra-rich class of Israelis; and the climax ensues.
In Policeman, Mr. Lapid, making an electrifying feature directing debut, traces the line between the group and the individual in a story that can be read as a commentary on the world as much as on Israel. For him, Israeli identity, body and soul, is at stake.
The film is In Hebrew with English subtitles
Reviewed by Dolores Luber
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