israel | 94 mins | English, Hebrew, w/Eng. subtitles
On August 15, 2005, the world waited anxiously for events to unfold in Gaza, where Israeli defense forces were about to forcibly remove some 8,000 remaining Jewish settlers from their homes, schools, farms and synagogues. In his gripping documentary, director Yoav Shamir gives us a front-row seat to the unfolding drama that many feared would cause catastrophic violence inflicted by Jews upon Jews.
Deploying eight camera crews simultaneously, Shamir gains unprecedented access to all sides of the confrontation as it happens. We huddle in the living room of Noam Shapira, a fervently Orthodox spiritual leader, as he plans his fearless resistance; we ride clandestinely with the settlers’ supporters in Israel as they attempt to block the evacuation; we watch tense reactions in the Palestinian village of Khan Yunis; and, most astonishingly, we get intimate access to Major General Dan Harel, commander of the entire operation, whose gruff, sensitive leadership in an impossibly loaded situation is tested at every turn. With his uncanny sense of capturing history in the making, Shamir (Checkpoint, SFJFF 2004) gives us a tautly constructed, multi-layered and up-close experience of a landmark event–one that prefigures much of what Israel may face in the near future–and reveals how explosive conflicts can sometimes be defused with honor and dignity.
For a view of life in a Gaza settlement over many years, see Troubled Water .
After the Berkeley screening of 5 Days, join producer Moshe Levinson and Bay Area documentary filmmakers for “First Draft of History,” a discussion about the role of filmmakers in recording, shaping and interpreting historic events as they happen.