Film Reviews
© (tiff, 2019) - Provided by Toronto International Film Festival -

Israeli director/co-writer Yaron Zilberman begins his film “Incitement” with news footage of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat with U.S. President Bill Clinton in the White House rose garden announcing the 1993 Oslo I Accord. Addressing Israeli Palestinian relations and hopes for peace, this official Declaration of Principles was a monumental event provoking a distressing aftermath.

The anchor of “Incitement,” this two-hour, historically grounded narrative, is Yigal Amir, outraged at the loss of territory, withdrawal of Israeli police, and freeing of Palestinian prisoners as part of the peace prospects. Quite simply, Yigal seeks justification for revenge, quoting a rabbi who says, “One should sooner by killed than give up land in Israel.” Yigal joins protests, secures illegal weapons, and works to form a militia unit. Through scholarly research and seeking out like-minded individuals, Yigal convinces himself that Rabin is a traitor and subject to the “law of the pursued,” that is, “saving the pursued by killing the pursuer.” 

All of this unfolds against a backdrop of periodically intermixed news footage, protests, and speeches, culminating in the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, more commonly called the Oslo II Accord declared in September 1995. Based on four years of research, dozens of interviews and viewing hundreds of hours of archival footage, director/co-writer Zilberman says he set out to tell this story as “a warning . . . as well as an appeal” to prevent “the path of violence and the destruction of democracy.” [quoted in press notes]  

He and co-writers Yair Hizmi and Ron Leshem present an informative depiction of the many factions and debates then and continuing to today. Yigal’s own family espouses different attitudes, his mother and father on opposite sides of the political issues. So too are Yigal’s fellow law school students, girlfriends and ex-girlfriend, rabbis and Torah scholars. Even knowing the tragic events that this leads to, the impact of “Incitement” is considerable, Zilberman’s hoped-for warning taken to heart, I can only hope, by all. 

In Hebrew with English subtitles, “Incitement” streams at Cinema 320.com.