Gitai served in the 1973 Yom Kippur war as a member of a helicopter rescue unit and was badly wounded when his copter was hit by a Syrian missile. “Kippur” is drawn from his experiences.
The war from the Israeli perspective began when Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on the Yom Kippur. The war was a triumph for neither side, even though Israel prevailed.
Israel lost men and land, then regained the land over a period of a few weeks. It is often contrasted with the ’67 war that the Israelis won decisively in six days.
The film depicts a sense of chaos. Gi- tai thrusts the viewer into the reality of modern warfare, in which the enemy is often invisible— viewers never see the Syrians in “Kippur” – and the battle lines are often unclear.
“Newspapers and public officials,” observes Phyllis Wang, coordinator of SJCA, “represent war in terms of nations, movements, maneuvers, and negotiations. It’s the systemic dehumanizing of violent conflict that we require to proceed with our daily lives. Gitai humanizes in clever and unexpected ways, using cinematic language, relying on light, silence, and space. His attention to the awfulness of war is the film’s great strength. However, the numbing horror of it all may also shut down our emotions and may leave us detached.”