IZKOR, is a portrait of the Israeli society that had never been shown before, thirty days in the life of a State that lives to the rhythm of its memory. This award-winning film puts forward a passionate and severe analysis of the Hebrew state.
“IZKOR,” means "remember" in Hebrew and this film looks in depth at this imperative that is imposed on the children of Israel. In Israel during the month of April feast days and celebrations take place one after another. School children of all ages prepare to pay tribute to their country's past. The collective memory becomes a terribly efficient tool for the training of young minds.
In Israel, “Never again” is not just a slogan, it's a “mantra”. It is an atmosphere, an ever present cloud, a widespread fear, touching every aspect of daily life, reason, opinions, creativity and choices people make for the future. Though Israel has been under the media spotlight since its creation, it is still a mystery to many observers. Its survival raises moral problems for some, and malicious speculation in others. But it is precisely on account this survival issue that the identity and determination of the population were forgotten.
The author of the film is an Israeli. By going to rediscover the myths and symbols that have contributed to the making of his own identity, as well as that of every Israeli, he is bringing into play his own personal experience. Through a meticulous observation of the educational system, from kindergarten to the army, we discover how history is transformed into memory, how it sets an atmosphere and influences Israelis' behavior and lifestyles. Not only of interest for specialists on Israel, the film is an assessment of the place of memory in educational practice in a contemporary nation-state.
Izkor offers the viewer a disquieting sense of the intensely ideological role of the Israeli educational system” OU “Izkor is a remarkable portrait of the Israeli educational system, but the sort of indoctrination in nationalist mythology that you criticize goes on in every country.
It is not difficult to understand why Sivan's film has offended some people. Certain memories have attained the status of sacred cows and any viewpoint not totally reverential to them may be considered taboo. Sivan implies no disrespect to either the memories or the events they preserve, but is questioning the methods used in ensuring them for the future. A sacred cow not open to questioning must be considered suspect by an alert mind.
Izkor is an hypercritical vision of the educational system of Israel. It is illustrated by the thoughts of professor Leibovitz who points out an extensive use of the memory of the past in order to justify the present actions.
These two hours won't leave anyone unharmed.
FIPA, Biarritz, France 1991
European Documentaries Biennale, Marseille 1991
Tel Aviv Film Festival, Tel Aviv 191