A glimpse of Ben-Gurion

Last week I watched Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, a 70-minute documentary film exhuming a 1968 6-hour interview David Ben-Gurion gave to a British director and his film crew to inform into their script of a feature film on the legendary leader, a biopic recreating the man and parts of his life. The film reels came to be forgotten, almost lost. The accompanying soundtrack (which didn’t quite match the reels because no one was able to coach Ben-Gurion into pausing when film was changed every twenty minutes) was forgotten, almost lost. Writer and director Yariv Mozer stumbled across this neglected gem – here was the architect and first implementer of the Jewish state in a rare moment on film – and slaved away in archives to assemble just over an hour from Ben-Gurion’s staged words plus archival contextual footage.

In this instance my interest in Israel has to do with its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Ben-Gurion, a key player, is difficult to grasp, hence my presence in a suburban cinema. In spite of the relevance of Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, it turns out to be rather dull (for me, that is, others will surely be riveted), and has almost nothing of use, but I enjoy seeing the silver-maned titan and discerning how clever and forceful he must have been. I don’t believe any of his false modesty.