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GATEKEEPERS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
For the first time ever, six former heads of Israel's domestic secret service agency, the Shin Bet, share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions. Since the Six Day War in 1967, Israel has failed to transform its crushing military victory into a lasting peace. Throughout that entire period, these heads of the Shin Bet stood at the centre of Israel's decision-making process in all matters pertaining to security. They worked closely with every Israeli prime minister, and their assessments and insights had-and continue to have-a profound impact on Israeli policy. The film is an account of their successes and failures and sheds light on the controversy surrounding the Occupation in the aftermath of the Six Day War.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It is in the last 10 minutes or so of this exhaustive - and satisfyingly exhausting - doco that the most poignant truths emerge from the mouths of six of Israel's former heads of the Shin Bet, the Israeli equivalent of the CIA. The sentiments are sobering and saddening, reflecting the impasse to peace that has existed for more than three generations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. These 'gatekeepers' of Israel's security clearly recognise the moral, political and pragmatic reality of the need for a two state solution - fast.

One telling anecdote quotes a Palestinian telling a Shin Bet chief that for them victory is enough in the suffering of the other. The mind sets of the many layers of both these peoples are far more effective barriers to peace than the concrete wall the Israelis built or suicide bombers the Palestinians sent.

The film is detailed and requires concentration, especially for those who need to read the subtitles. But the effort is worth it for anyone vaguely interested in the subject. And of course the subject goes to the heart of the human condition. It's not 'just politics'; it's a matter of life for millions of people. Both sides suffer and as these senior security chiefs reveal, that includes each of them, too. They recognise that the occupation of Palestine is a miserable and self defeating policy.

The frustration we feel about the elusiveness of a solution is compounded by the fact that these men all agree that all parties should talk to each other. A lot.

Humanising and deconstructing these warriors provides a fascinating and thought provoking document which for all its gloomy content, is a resource for both informed debate and future learning. The film has made a huge impact in Israel; let's see if the impact extends to a change for the better in this bitter conflict between two people with a conjoined history.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GATEKEEPERS, THE (M)
(Israel, 2012)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Dror Moreh, Estelle Fialon, Philippa Kowarsk,

DIRECTOR: Dror Moreh

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Avner Shahaf

EDITOR: Oron Adar

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Doron Koren

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 5, 2013







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