By leaving the Palestinian conflict in the background, filmmaker Lapid manages to skip over the common ‘shooting-and-crying’ formula, in which Israeli protagonists are portrayed more as victims than perpetrators of the conflict.
The timing of the release of Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid’s debut, “Policeman,” was very unique in Israel: October 2011, right after that summer’s so-called Tent Protests, which saw hundreds of thousands Israelis take to the streets over social and economic issues. “Policeman,” which was shot and completed before the surprising demonstrations erupted, tells the story of a confrontation between a group of young revolutionaries plotting to kidnap a local tycoon, and a police officer in an anti-terror unit that will be called upon stop them.
When Lapid wrote a script about violent internal struggle over economic issues in a country whose politics had been dominated by the conflict for a century, it must have seemed like science fiction (in interviews, Lapid referred to it as “a fantasy”). By the time the film was released Lapid’s fantasy seemed more like a prophesy, winning the movie a nice turnout and more attention than one could expect from a movie that is very challenging, both in style and in content. And yet don’t be fooled: at the heart of “Policeman” lies a delicate deconstruction of modern Israeli identity, and like everything Israeli, it has a lot to do with the Palestinians.
I know Lapid pretty well so I got to see “Policeman” in an early screening, and I haven’t seen it since. But the movie, which was screened in New York last week, stuck with me in more than one way. Right now there aren’t any future screenings listed on the film’s site, but if there are in the future, I recommend checking it out.
The plot is basically broken into two: In the first 40 minutes we get to know Yaron (played by the excellent Yiftach Klein) – a member of an elite police unit, popular with his friends and with women, an all-Israeli alpha male. Two important events take place in his life – Yaron and his unit members are facing an investigation regarding the killing of a Palestinian detainee,...Read More