It’s only coincidence that Kippur is being released now. Amos Gitai’s intense, autobiographically based drama is set during Israel’s 1973 Yom Kippur War, but current Middle East tensions add urgency to this stark study in the unglorious matter-of-factness of battle.
Gitai, whose previous film, Kadosh, stacked the deck against his ultra-Orthodox countrymen, gets off to a baffling start in Kippur: In a discordantly arty prelude, Gitai’s handsome alter-ego, Weinraub (Liron Levo), couples with his girlfriend in a prolonged session involving finger paint. Love, though, is soon overtaken by a war in which nothing makes sense. Weinraub and his fellow conscripts get nowhere, at great risk, in unforgiving mud suitable for a Samuel Beckett play. Based on rescue missions in which Gitai himself participated, this sobering antiwar war movie is his rueful acknowledgment of those who fight with no Godot in sight. B+