Pourquoi Israel (Israel, Why) (1972)
Director: Claude Lanzmann
Video: XVID | 512X384 | Framerate: 25 | Sound: mpga | Color: Color | Size: 2CDs, 700 and 699 MB | Runtime: 192 min | Country: Italy | France | Language: English | German | Hebrew | Russian | French | Subtitels: English | French | German | Genre: Documentary
Schmuel Birger... Himself (as Schmuel Bogler)
Gad Granach... Himself (as Gert Granach)
Lanzmann explains that he was in Germany to study philosophy when the Jewish Agency became the Provisional government of Israel in 1948, therefore not at all aware of what was going on in Palestine. Not a fervent Zionist himself, Lanzmann is nevertheless haunted by what makes Jewish identity and anything related to this topic. It is interesting to note that Lanzmann started to shoot footage for "Pourquoi Israël" right after writing "Elise, ou la vraie vie" ("Elise, or Real Life" -- see that entry) which was a film on the Algerian war. Indeed, it may seem a little odd that someone who is clearly against colonialism would support the survival of Israel, but Lanzmann takes on a non Manichean approach (I wouldn't say "objective", that's something else) when he depicts the achievements and contradictions of the Israeli nation. Through a series of scenes, where the director spends time with many different people (German-Jewish migrants, dock workers, intellectuals, police, prison inmates, and the newly arrived -- especially from Russia), Lanzmann shows that the normality of a "state like any other" is actually abnormality itself. "How peculiar is a place where there are Jews and nothing but", he once stated in an interview.