|HANNA K (director/writer: Costa-Gavras; screenwriter: Franco Solinas/from an original screenplay by Franco Solinas and Costa-Gavras; cinematographer: Ricardo Aronovich; editor: Françoise Bonnot; music: Gabriel Yared; cast: Jill Clayburgh (Hanna Kaufman), Gabriel Byrne (Joshua Herzog), Jean Yanne (Victor Bonnet), David Clennon (Amnon), Mohamed Bakri (Selim Bakri), Shimon Finkel (Professor Leventhal), Oded Kotler (The Stranger), Michal Bat (The Russian Woman), Dafna Levy (Dafna), Dan Muggia (Capt. Allenby-Bridge); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Costa-Gavras; Universal Pictures; 1983in English, Hebrew and Arabic, with English subtitles when necessary. )|
heavy-handed melodrama misfire."
by Dennis Schwartz
heavy-handed melodrama misfire on the Palestinian
question plaguing Israel, with noted Greek left-wing
filmmaker Costa-Gavras ("Z"/"Music
Box"/"Mad City") taking a pro-Palestinian stance in
this controversial political film that is undeveloped
and decidedly one-sided. It's based on a story by Costa-Gavras
and Franco Solinas, with the
screenplay by Solinas offering a muddled story that
has no resolution and receives an uneven treatment.
Kaufman (Jill Clayburgh) is a
Jewish-American lawyer living in Tel Aviv and
practicing law there. While in Paris she married the
wise philosophical Frenchman Victor Bonnet (Jean
Yanne). When we first see her, Hanna is living
in Jerusalem and has long been separated and has
become pregnant over casual sex with the Zionist
Joshua Herzog (Gabriel Byrne),
the district attorney from Jerusalem, someone she
doesn't love. While the annoying Hanna wrestles
whether to have the baby or not, she's appointed by
the court to defend the Palestinian Selim
Bakri (Mohamed Bakri), accused of
being a terrorist when found by the army hiding in a
well in a Jerusalem home blown up by the army.
are two trials in Jerusalem. After proving in
the first trial that Selim has been
illegally entering Israel not to plant bombs but to
reclaim his family's ancestral home, supposedly
illegally seized by the Israeli Government, she also
acts as his lawyer in the second one. In this
one Selim sues Israel for the right to live on
his ancestral land in Israel that was seized. Hanna
defends her client by saying it's Israel's policies on
Arab refugees that should be on trial.
unpopular stance for a Jewish Israeli makes Hanna a
target for phone call threats, and she's accused by
her enemies of being a danger to Israel because of her
idealism. Thereby Hanna responds by taking Selim into
her home as her new lover and confidante. With this
explosive set-up some fireworks is anticipated,
instead nothing happens but a dry didactic
dissertation on modern Israel history.
schematic film, scripted with a political agenda to
fit the director and writer's leftist anti-Israel
political beliefs, never can be taken seriously as
desired, as its characters don't seem like real people
but puppets manipulated by the filmmaker. Even if you
agree with the filmmaker's questionable and not fully
explored views, the film itself is inert and makes for
a bad watch.
REVIEWED ON 2/27/2014 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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