Thursday | 05.12.19

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Rage and Glory // Yair Raveh

The Troupe and Rage and Glory are two complete opposites: the bright, sunlit, optimistic hues of The Troupe versus the somber and dark tone of Rage and Glory; The Troupe’s elation, catharsis, and message that everything is possible as opposed to the tragic pessimism of Rage and Glory, where the local reality is portrayed as a dead end. The two were also opposites in real life: while The Troupe was highly successful in Israel and has been broadcast almost religiously every Independence Day for forty years, it is one of Nesher’s less familiar films internationally. Rage and Glory, alternately, garnered wide international acclaim, paving Nesher’s road to a prodigious Hollywood career.

Now, 33 years later, the spectacular new copy of Rage and Glory – showcasing David Gurfinkel’s breathtaking cinematography at the peak of his already illustrious career – offers a chance to reexamine the film, far from the current affairs of the time of its production and distribution, and find in it what international audiences discovered long ago: a masterpiece.

Rage and Glory, three and a half decades after its creation, is bigger than any contemporary political discussion of its contents. The film calls on us to observe how Nesher shapes Zionist mythology through his stunning cinematic language, a language that creates an impressive choreography between criticism and gratitude. This film is about our parents’ generation, to be approached with a balance of love and judgment. As opposed to Nesher’s realistic and free depiction of his contemporaries in The Troupe and Dizengoff 99, Rage and Glory is a film in which the color scheme, lighting. and production values convey an idealistic longing – in light and shade, red and black – to the cinema of old. The story of the people thanks to whom Nesher is an Israeli director is told in a cinematic language that refers to the cinema that made Nesher’s generation want to become filmmakers – a cinema that, until Rage and Glory, was almost nonexistent in Hebrew.

In his movies, Nesher maintains a rich and complex relationship with the past. The Troupe, Turn Left at the End of the World, and The Matchmaker all take place in 1968-1969, when the director was a young man. Rage and Glory set out to examine Israel’s present by taking a look at the foundations of the country, the outstanding heroism together with the original sins which gave birth to the state. This point of view, so controversial in 1984, now seems almost obvious, proving that in all aspects – in style and in content – this film was maybe set in the past, but was in fact ahead of its time.