Kippur (2000)




Director:  Amos Gitai

Starring:  Liron Levo (Weinraub), Tomer Russo (Ruso), Uri Klauzner (Klausner), Yoram Hattab (The Pilot), Guy Amir (Gadassi), Juliano Mer (The Captain), Ran Kauchinsky (Shlomo), Kobi Livne (Kobi), Liat Glick (Dina), Pini Mittleman (Hospital Doctor), Meital Barda (Gidi Gov).

This is a different perspective on war: seen from the perspective of the rescue crew.  We are introduced to Weinraub and his friend Ruso in relative peace time.  But the Yom Kippur War suddenly disrupts the peace of the day.  The emphasis is on the total confusion caused by war rather than the blood and guts.


Spoiler Warning:  below is a brief summary of the movie. 

The movie is good.  The army unit of Lt. Ruso and Sgt. Weinraub has been called up because Egypt and Syria have started a new war, this time on Yom Kippur.  Sgt. Weinraub uses his car to drive Lt. Ruso and himself to the border with Syria.   The men observe that Israeli leaders Moshe Dayan and Golda Meir underestimated their enemies.  The two soldiers have a rough trip as they run into a great deal of traffic because of the shelling.  But they refuse to give up until they get to Kuneitra, where their unit is headquartered.  But when they arrive at their destination, they learn that their unit has already left.  Stranded, they hang around and sleep in Sgt. Weinraub's car.  They wonder where to volunteer their services considering different branches of the armed forces.

Doctor Klausner's car has broken down.  He approaches the two soldiers and says that he needs a ride.  He has to report to his unit.  Ruso and Weinraub drive the doctor to his unit, an emergency unit with the job of rescuing downed pilots and evacuating the wounded.  The two lost soldiers decide to work with the emergency crews thinking it would be a relatively easy job.

But boy were they ever wrong.  The two soldiers are soon covered with blood and mud.  They arrive by helicopter at a battle site following a battle.  They have to check to see who is dead and who is alive, not an enviable task.  Most of the soldiers are dead.  One of the survivors wants to take all the bodies into the helicopter, but the helicopter can only take the survivors.  The emergency crew has to subdue the crazed man still demanding that they take the dead along with the living. 

At other sites they have to takes stretchers out and pick up the wounded to carry to the helicopters.  They get filthy dirty from head to foot.  An especially difficult job was trying to pick up a wounded man amidst all the deep muddy tracks left by the tanks.  They become so exhausted that they keep dropping the man.  They are finally able to get the man away from the muddy tracks, but only to discover that he has died. 

On a helicopter ride filled with the wounded, the helicopter is hit by a missile and then by a shell and goes down.  A number of the emergency crew are hurt and they have to be rescued by another emergency care helicopter.  At the hospital, Ruso and Weinraub meet new challenges with more men suffering and dying.  Weinraub is wounded in the back but he is able to return home.  Ruso has to receive further medical treatment.  It is very strange to watch as Weinraub just gets in his car and drives himself back home to be with his wife, as if he was just driving home from a long day at work. 


The movie is an anti-war film.  The emphasis is on the innocents, the non-professional semi-professionals, facing one gruesome situation after another.  Thinking they would have a relatively easy time, they find themselves in a kind of hell.  Covered with mud and blood they become completely exhausted and at times can't even carry a wounded man on a stretcher to the helicopter.  And then the two heroes of the movie are wounded themselves.  My wife and I got exhausted ourselves watching all the rescue work.  It was getting a little tiring to watch the bloody rescues, but this is to drive the point home that war is hell. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). 

1973  --  the Yom Kippur War  in which Egypt and Syria launched attacks against Israel in Sinai and the Golan Heights.




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