This is Amos Gitai’s magnum opus. The film is an intricate look into the filmmaker and into Israel; the two entities have many things in common. The disconnect between Israel and the United States is shown well here, with the ancient tied together with the ultra-modern. Gitai’s work in imbuing eir home country with a human vitality will foster an increased level of interest for many in Israel. However, Carmel is not only about Israel – in many ways, it is a tremendously introspective piece that goes into such fine detail about Gitai’s life that one would swear that they were a close family friend.
While Gitai and Israel are compared through the films hour and a half runtime, I feel that the history taught in Gitai’s focus on the past is something much more salient and germane in terms of political and current event discussion. No matter how one cuts it, there is a valid reason for viewing and enjoying Gitai’s latest film. This is because Gitai speaks to familial ties that all have, both in terms of direct blood descendents as well as to the idea of a homeland.
While one piece does not equal the whole, Carmel does a good job in showcasing that there can be a number of similarities present. Kino has done the world a great service in releasing this film; you should do a great service to yourself and make it a point to pick up a copy of it. With a price online of about $23, there is no reason that one should not treat themselves at a paycheck or any sort of monetary windfall. Kudos has to go out to Kino for continually raising the bar on documentaries and on films generally.
Carmel (DVD) / 2011 Kino International / 93 Minutes / http://www.kino.com