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Kino on Video presents
Kippur (2000)

"Every minute of silence is a great treasure to me."
- Weinraub (Liron Levo)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: July 26, 2001

Stars: Liron Levo, Tomer Russo, Uri Ran-Klausner
Other Stars: Yoram Hattab, Guy Amir
Director: Amos Gitai

Manufacturer: L&M
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, language, some nudity)
Run Time: 02h:00m:45s
Release Date: August 01, 2001
UPC: 738329021320
Genre: war

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- BC-C+ D-

DVD Review

Kippur tells the story of several young Israeli soldiers during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, during which Egypt and Syria launched attacks in Sinai and the Golan Heights. Young officers Weinraub (Liron Levo) and Ruso (Tomer Ruso), unable to reach their assigned unit due to a battlefield roadblock, choose instead to escort a doctor (Uri Ran-Klausner) whose car has broken down on the road. The soldiers attach themselves to Klausner's medical rescue helicopter unit, responsible for rescuing Israeli survivors of the ongoing conflict.

Kippur is an atypical war film—its plot is fairly thin, concerning itself much more with the "fog of war" than the political/moral aspects of the conflict. The film opens quietly—director Amos Gitai eschews dialogue entirely for the first nine minutes, as Weinraub makes love to his girlfriend before walking down the quiet, early-morning city streets to join his comrade-in-arms, Ruso. The soldiers soon find themselves in the thick of the conflict, struggling to load wounded men into the chopper without getting themselves killed in the process. The military is portrayed as a disorganized, ragtag group of units, with little command or communication from the top, and the largely autonomous division must make the best decisions it can as the war progresses; triage and mission planning must be juggled constantly, under imminent threat of injury and death.

Gitai directs with a sure eye—his compositions are clean and focused, and he's not afraid to use long, observant takes to tell his story. These contemplative moments contrast with his use of handheld cameras on the battlefield, lending a shaky, running-scared immediacy to the story's most dangerous moments. The director achieves his striking visuals completely in-camera, with natural lighting and no process shots whatsoever—every explosion is live, every tank and helicopter rusty and real. This low-budget approach lends a palpable reality to the production, an extremely effective choice that more than makes up in emotional involvement what it lacks in pyrotechnics.

Kippur is not an anti-war movie, but it is not a pro-war movie either. It's a human story of a small group of men fighting a cause they cannot truly even see, let alone understand; it's a harrowing but simple tale of life on the front lines, uncomplicated by moral posturing or political propagandizing. Amos Gitai's production blends beauty and terror in equal measure, refusing to draw conclusions or even to allow its audience to do so. It's unique in the cinematic annals of war, and well worth exploring.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Kippur is presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, with a letterboxed transfer. Like many of Kino on Video's recent releases, the film has a "laserdisc" look, apparently repurposing the same 30fps, interlaced nonanamorphic master for videotape and DVD. The transfer exhibits edge enhancement and a general softness, with some print flecking and minor damage unbecoming a movie of such recent vintage. Shadow detail is often murky, though this may be a limitation of the source; it's a watchable transfer, but not up to contemporary DVD standards.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Hebrewyes

Audio Transfer Review: Kino on Video presents Kippur in Dolby 2.0 Surround format, apparently downconverted from the Dolby Digital theatrical master, another unfortunate trend at Kino. It's a strong track by 2.0 standards—frequency and dynamic range are solid, with strong LFE bass, effective rear surround usage and precise imaging across the front soundstage, but one can't help wondering what's been lost in the translation. The audio track is also digitally mislabeled as "ENG."

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Unfortunately, there are no substantial DVD extras provided to augment this impressive film, just 14 picture-menu chapter stops and the theatrical trailer, presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed nonanamorphic, Dolby 2.0 monophonic format. The trailer consists primarily of clips with critical raves on intertitle cards, and it communicates the film's tone without giving away too much of the story. Subtitles are "burned-in" and cannot be removed from the image.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Kippur takes an intimate, intense and surprisingly apolitical look at the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Kino's DVD features a passable (albeit nonanamorphic) transfer, and the film is worth seeing. Recommended.


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