"A terrific movie -- kind of like a West Bank ‘Wire.’”
A. O. Scott, The New York Times
"An exceptional film that's hard to forget.’”
Leonard Maltin, Indiewire
“Impressive. A tightly wound clock-ticking thriller.”
Leslie Felperin, Variety
“The first feature film that authentically portrays the Intifada's bloody innards.”
Amos Harel, Haaretz
“A gripping war drama directed with unusual even-handedness and compassion.”
Michael Wilmington, Movie City News
“The best depiction of the human side of the human intelligence-gathering process I've ever seen.”
David Samuels, Tablet
“Brutal yet undeniably important... a commercial film that could stand alongside any Hollywood political thriller, except with a deeper sense of self and purpose.”
Joseph Braverman, Awards Circuit.
"The murky world of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and the vicious circle of suspicion and betrayal in which all the players are locked, are well drawn in this gritty, suspenseful drama. "
Roderick Conway Morris, The New York Times
Speaking after a screening at the Sheridan Opera House -- the Telluride Film Festival !
An article by Amos Harel -- published July 27TH, 2013. The first real review of the film was actually in a news article by a military journalist who wrote extensively about the conflict. See for instance his, and Issacharoff's excellent book The Seventh War -- המלחמה השביעית. For me, one of the most significant reviews.
All quiet on the West Bank front, for now
A new Israeli movie,'Bethlehem,’ is a gripping drama set during the darkest days of the second intifada. Anyone watching it will hope those days never return, but the renewed peace talks will play a big role in determining that.
By Amos Harel | Jul. 27, 2013 | 5:59 PM
The Israeli film Bethlehem, slated to compete at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, recreates a period that most Israelis would rather forget. Its plot is set deep in the days of the second Intifada, when suicide bombers blew themselves up in Jerusalem busses and on Tel Aviv streets on a weekly basis.
The film will be released for commercial screening in Israel in two months, though it is hard to say whether the Israeli public will gather the emotional strength needed to watch it. But at least for the veterans of the conflict - officers of the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security service agents, policemen, Palestinian Authority officials, journalists - seeing this film is almost a professional must. These are two hours that rivet the spectator to his seat and his eyes to the screen.
Director Yuval Adler, for whom this is a first feature film, doesn't let anyone off the hook. The film, in which veterans of the period may find many points of resemblance to a real-life affair that occurred in the early days of the Intifada, tells the story of a chase conducted by the Shin Bet after a Palestinian militant who sends terrorists on suicide missions, and the relationship between the Shin Bet field coordinator and the militant's younger brother.
No one comes clean in this story: the Shin Bet has no qualms about sacrificing a Palestinian boy in order to assassinate his brother. The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to wanted militants under the guise of a committee for the protection of women's rights. The boy in the middle of the affair is a pawn in the game between the two sides.
Adler pays no heed to political correctness, refusing to provide even a hint of rosy glasses to filter the dismal reality of the territories. Yet he also steers clear of the comfortable (and, at least abroad, lucrative) trap of "end of the occupation" films. This appears to be the first feature film that authentically portrays the Intifada's bloody innards. With a modest budget and an almost unknown cast, Adler and his associate scriptwriter Ali Waked, a Ynet reporter in the territories during the Intifada, have brought the standard of the lauded American TV series The Wire to the West Bank. The period reconstruction is surprisingly accurate, as is the acting. Bethlehem strikes no false notes.
The announcement that Bethlehem was chosen to contend in the prestigious Venice competition was made a few days after Secretary of State John Kerry's press conference in Amman, where he declared the renewal of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry announced his success at the height of a period of relative peace. In terms of terrorist attacks, the last two years have been the most peaceful in the West Bank since the Six-Day War. Those days at the beginning of the previous decade seem so far, like a bad dream which one tries to quickly forget...
The complete article here: http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.538248
- Venice Film Review Bethlehem
- Deadline.com - Foreign Language Oscar Preview
- Screendaily.com - Academy selects Foreign Shortlist
- Thedailybeast.com - Acclaimed Israeli Film 'Bethlehem' Brings the Occupation Back Into Our Home