chronicle of the moral and existential swing of a director


On December 15, 2017, Ahed Tamimi, a young Palestinian activist who opposes the occupation of the territories, slaps one of the two Israeli soldiers leaning against the wall of the family home, in Nabi Saleh (West Bank), near Ramallah. The video goes around the web, helping to erect the young girl, sentenced to eight months in prison, into an icon of resistance to colonization. Far-right Israeli MP Bezalel Smotrich laments that the soldiers did not shoot him, “At least in the knee”, so that his house arrest is final.

This event and these words are at the heart of the fourth feature film by director Nadav Lapid, whose main character, a filmmaker called “Y”, the director’s alter ego, wants to shoot a film that could be called Ahed’s Knee. Solicited in the provinces, however, he leaves this film in the background to briefly experience another story, the one that Nadav Lapid’s film tells us precisely, which is no less entitled Ahed’s Knee. The real film – the one we are watching – therefore adopted the title of the film in the film, unfinished, unfinished no doubt, replacing it.

Read also Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian girl who slapped Israeli soldiers, released

Nadav Lapid probably wanted to make a film about Ahed’s story, he was prevented from doing so by an event that crystallized something in his life, and that something led him to make this film and then to exile immediately

This beautiful baroque salto therefore leads us to this hypothesis: that Nadav Lapid probably wanted to make a film on Ahed’s story, that he was prevented from doing so by an event which crystallized something in his personal and professional life, and that this something led him to make this film, then to immediately go into exile from his native country with wife and child. Anything but harmless decision for a filmmaker whose inspiration is rooted in the soil that saw him be born and whose habits he masters.

Ahed’s Knee is nothing other than the public, epidermal, eruptive, telluric expression of this moral and existential rocker. We see the opening Y, preparing his film inspired by the event Ahed Tamimi – Godardian montage of the cast of actresses, YouTube images of the young girl on fire, actor playing Smotrich who utters his insanities, as long as you do in German. Then, in a clean cut, without transition, Y flies to the Negev desert, in the extreme south of the country, where he must present one of his old films in Sapir, a village of 3000 inhabitants located in the Arava valley.

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