War Memories | Chicago Reader

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Amos Gitai began shooting movies while in a helicopter rescue unit in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, using a Super-8 camera his mother had given him. While this 1997 video in which he interviews his fellow soldiers may be looser and more open-ended than Kippur (2000), the powerful fiction feature that re-creates his war experience, it's a thoughtful meditation on the nature of war, memory, and imagery. Gitai's Super-8 footage has a raw, eerie power—in one sequence, indistinct flight suits hang outdoors, filling the frame like looming ghosts—and he links past and present by superimposing the war images over his interviews. When Gitai travels to California to interview Uzi (the model for Russo in Kippur), a waitress holds a plate of pastries before the camera, and the filmmaker finds only news reports about the O.J. Simpson case on TV, providing mordant contrasts to the ruined landscapes from a quarter century earlier. Gitai's young son, riding in the backseat of a car, asks one of Gitai's comrades how another of the men was killed; later a child's drawing shows a helicopter being shot down, which supports one of Gitai's themes: that both images and actual events can be seen as individual constructions, the result of choices we make. 112 min.

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