Rabin, the Last Day (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
June 4, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Rabin, the Last Day” was constructed with a lot of thought, quite a provocative film and true but also containing a message that what happened in Israel during that time, can happen in other countries where hatred and fear start to overcome peace. An important, thought-provoking political thriller that I highly recommend!
© 2015 LGM Cinema, Les Films du Worso, France 2 Cinema, Orange Studio, Agav Films. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Rabin, the Last Day
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 156 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), Hebrew with Optional English Subtitles, 5.1 Surround
COMPANY: Kino Lorber
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Directed by Amos Gitai
Written by Amos Gitai, Marie-Jose Sanselme
Produced by Cyril Colbeau-Justin, Francesco Di Silvio, Jean-Baptiste Dupont, Amos Gitai, David Kessler, Sylvie Pialat, Michael Tapuah, Laurent Truchot
Executive-Producer: Shuki Friedman, Gady Levy, Benoit Quainon
Cinematography by Eric Gautier
Casting by Ilan Moscovitch
Music by Amit Poznansky
Edit by Yuval Or
Production Design by Miguel Markin
Yael Abecassis as Interviewer
Shimon Peres as Himself
Yitzhak Hizkiya as Head of the Commission
Pini Mittelman as Commission Member
Michael Warshaviak as Commission Member
Einat Weitzman as Commission Lawyer
Yogev Yefet as Rabin’s Assassin
Tomer Sisley as Rabin’s Driver
Ronen Keinan as Commission Lawyer
Yariv Horowitz as Doctor
Amanda Soroudi as Nurse Michal
On the evening of Saturday, November 4th, 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated with three bullets at the end of a political rally in the center of Tel-Aviv. His killer, apprehended at the scene, was a 25-year-old student (and observant Jew). The following investigation reveals a frightening world that made this killing possible: a subculture of hate fueled by hysterical rhetoric, paranoia and political intrigue. In Rabin, The Last Day, acclaimed filmmaker Amos Gitai (Kadosh) masterfully combines staged re-enactments with actual news footage of the shooting (and its aftermath) to create a thought-provoking political thriller.
A powerful and provocative political thriller from filmmaker Amos Gitai (“September 11”, “Free Zone”, “Kippur”, “Kadosh”), his latest film focuses on the shocking 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The film titled “Rabin, The Last Day” was an Israeli-French docudrama that would showcase modern interviews with a re-enactments of what took place before, during and after the assassination.
And now “Rabin, The Last Day” will be released on Blu-ray in north America courtesy of Kino Lorber.
The film begins with actress Yael Abecassis (“Live and Become”, “Kadosh”, “Alila”, “Prisoners of War”) interviewing the ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres (2007-2014) about why he admired Yitzhak Rabin and would he have accomplished more if he were still alive.
The interview then transitions to archived news footage of Prime Minister Rabin’s speech for peace and people coming out to the rallies in support for peace and the Oslo I Accord which would try to find a resolution of the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The footage would feature Rabin greeting the people and heading into his motorcade. Overhead footage is shown near the motorcade (which then transitions from archived news footage to the film re-enactment) and then a crowd surrounding the motorcade and as the door opens for Rabin to get in the car, Israeli ultranationalist Yigal Amir coming right behind him and shooting the Prime Minister.
We watch the chaos inside the car as the security guards try to keep the Prime Minister alive as they rush into the hospital.
Meanwhile, we watch as an investigative commission are discussing the lack of security, communication breakdowns, how someone was able to film the assassination from above and interviews with the man who shot the video of Rabin’s assassination and how he was able to get into the area. And many more unfortunate circumstances that transpired on that night.
From the confusion of supporters, the mindset of other politicians but also going a few days prior to the assassination of how his political detractors (right-wing conservatives and Likud leaders who felt the Oslo peace process was an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories) were against his pursuit for peace.
But the film would then showcase a story of political rivals of Rabin who do not agree with his plan for peace with neighboring rivals and are spiteful that instead of Jewish expansion, they see Rabin as the enemy and his political rivals and their supporters asking for Rabin’s death.
And despite the trouble, Rabin and others never expected any type of terrorism or attack and also the unfortunate planning of protecting Rabin, despite the hostile detractors wanting him dead.
“Rabin, the Last Day” delves into why Yigal Amir assassinated Rabin but most importantly how this event which took place in 1995 can serve as a warning, as violent extremists who believe its in accord to their religious beliefs, for them to exact violence. Unfortunately a mindset which continues to this day.
“Rabin, the Last Day” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). The docudrama manages to blend in archived news footage with staged re-enactments effectively. News footage of course is not crystal clear but that is to be expected. The overall film looks good and full of detail. Skintones look natural and picture quality is very good.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Rabin, the Last Day” is presented in Hewbrew 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features a lossless soundtrack that has crystal clear dialogue. There are moments where gun shots ring so clearly and you can hear the screams of despair through the various audio channels, but for the most part, the film is a center and front-channel, dialogue driven film.
Subtitles feature optional English subtitles.
“Rabin, the Last Day” comes with a trailer.
When it comes to international politics, for many people living in the west, one tends to focus on the politics of their own state or country.
And for some of those who are of that ethnicity and interested in their country’s politics or for those who have a an interest in global politics, there are few moments in the world that have shocked the world.
The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was no doubt a shocking moment in politics.
Because prior to the assassination, many of us watched history happen as Rabin and Yasser Arafat, along with then-President Clinton at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony back in 1993.
In my mind, I thought at the time, it would be a hard road but how wonderful that these two opposing forces can come together and try to work towards peace.
Fast forward two years later and Rabin is dead and to learn that he was killed by an observant Jew, who killed the Prime Minister because of his belief that Rabin’s peace initiative and Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank would deny Jews their “biblical heritage which they had reclaimed by establishing settlements”. And believed that Rabin was endangering Jewish lives. So, he felt he had the justification to assassinate Rabin because he thought of him as a threat to Jews in those territories.
At the time, I thought it to be madness.
And watching Amos Gitai’s “Rabin, the Last Day”, not only do we get to see the mindset of Yigal Amir, but we get to see those who had opposed Rabin and how violent there extremism was. There is no doubt that one can watch this film and find it relevant in today’s world.
Where violence is conducted on a daily basis and many of those committing the violence feel they are justified with their (mis)interpretation of religion.
But it’s one thing to watch the political rival plan out their strategy to oust Rabin, but there is a slowly building message about the madness of people who want to fight against any change, even if that change was for peace.
In a long scene, we watch as a clinical psychiatrist tries to psychoanalyze Rabin and you start to realize that the professional advice she is giving is more along her political beliefs, as she tries to make comparisons with Rabin and Hitler because of the repeated use of the word “I”. And to her, those who use “I” is a sign of megalomania. And we start to see everyone boil with anger as they see Rabin’s government to be satanic.
But equally frustrating is to see the neglect in protection. There was a lapse of security, police didn’t receive clear instructions of their position, there were too much finger wagging of who was at fault. And in the end, after watching this film, the breakdown of communication and effective planning was at fault.
And even seeing how judges react to Rabin’s death and the way they handled the overall assassination was also surprising. For example, after the assassination, they were more intent of grilling the person who filmed the assassination versus those who planned overall security and delve into the weakness of the security detail of Rabin that day.
With that being said, it is important to say that even Rabin didn’t feel he needed the security. The former soldier was about meeting the people and not being too detached from them.
But similar to the political atmosphere of today’s United States before the Presidential elections, as more Americans are being dissatisfied with how politicians have run with the country, it is an echo of what took place in Israel. As those who were against Rabin’s march towards peace, are now in charge.
One of Rabin’s harshest critics during the Oslo Accord I, was the now current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and chairman of the Likud Party) is going for his fifth term and has had success, bolstered by the escalated tensions between Israel and Palestine and his strong belief of a two-state, not a one-state solution.
As for the film, I felt that filmmaker Amos Gitai, did a wonderful job of trying to show a country divided and the political and social tensions of that moment in time. The re-enactments and the real life archived news footage were blended together with efficacy.
I enjoyed this docudrama and political thriller because it was provocative, it does open your eyes on how sensitive things were at the time but also seeing two perspectives, from Rabin’s focus for peace, while seeing even the assassin, why he was motivated to kill Rabin. But also seeing the vitriol of the opposition.
And for those of us not living in Israel, nor an erudite of Israeli politics, viewers may take this film as 100% fact. I’m not familiar with Israeli politics or the sociopolitical situation and how most Israeli’s feel about the film.
So, it’s important to sift through reviews especially from Israel and see how critics respond and see where the weakness of the film is and how much does Gitai get right. Haaretz writer, Uri Klein’s review of the film points out the weaknesses of the film, and his review gave me better insight. And also to reading interview with Gitai around the time of the film’s release in regards to how the hate was strong and there were banners and signs all over the place (and featured in the archived news footage) to show the hate campaign that transpired during that time.
Gitai told Haaretz:
“In this Rabin government, there is a profound understanding that if you want to make peace … a real reconciliation, to construct something different, you have to be aware that the other (side) exists, that he has another vision of the conflict.
“I think that Rabin was really the first and until now the only Israeli political figure who understood,” Gitai said.
Overall, “Rabin, the Last Day” was constructed with a lot of thought, quite a provocative film and true but also containing a message that what happened in Israel during that time, can happen in other countries where hatred and fear start to overcome peace.
An important, thought-provoking political thriller that I highly recommend!
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