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Hot Docs 2016 Review: Rabin in His Own Words

What is so interesting about Erez Laufer’s film Rabin in his Own Words is the fact that the filmmaker uses only clips from former Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin.

Because Rabin himself was so soft spoken, the benign aspect of the doc is quite surprising. Anyone expecting a more challenging or boundary-pushing examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should perhaps look elsewhere. There are a couple of moments where Rabin makes out-of-character striking statements regarding settlers to a reporter. Then he smooths them over by stating that they are “off the record”.

But then the film seems to take a really low-key approach to recreating Rabin’s life (though not his death by assisination) through his words entirely. There are few songs and some letters read by others, but mainly Rabin’s calm, measured voice is the only accompaniment. Perhaps this works to the detriment of the film, because a little more insight into, say, Rabin being removed as Prime Minister the first time would have been welcomed.

The process that Laufer took has to have been exhausting, and the effort is admirable above all, if it falls a little shy of captivating.

[star v=3]