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New Israeli Film Club Screens 'Rabin: In His Own Words'

Movie named “best documentary” at the 2015 Haifa International Film Festival

  • Israeli Film Club hosts Chicago-area premiere of “Rabin: In his own words”
  • Rabin tells own story in combination with rare archival footage, home movies
  • Named “best documentary” at 2015 Haifa International Film Festival
  • Israel expert to discuss Rabin’s legacy and its romanticization before screening of film

EVANSTON, Ill.  --- Twenty years after his assassination plunged Israel and the peace process into turmoil, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tells his own dramatic life story in the new documentary “Rabin: In His Own Words.”

Named “best documentary” at the 2015 Haifa International Film Festival, “Rabin” will be screened at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, in Evanston.

Northwestern’s Elie Rekhess, associate director for Israel studies at the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, will open the program -- which is free and open to the public -- with a look at how Rabin’s legacy was instantaneously romanticized and idealized.

“He was a statesman, authentic, credible and trustworthy,” Rekhess said. “But he was not a peacenik.”

“Rabin” is presented by Northwestern’s newly launched Israeli Film Club, a collaboration with the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and in partnership with the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, which is directed by Cindy Stern.

Told entirely in Rabin’s voice, the film uses a combination of rare archival footage, including newly released 8mm home movies, family letters, uncensored memoirs, off-the-record interviews and other personal records never seen or heard since their original broadcast 40 years ago.

Director Erez Laufer describes the intimate film as an "autoportrait," like listening in on a conversation between a man and himself. The movie unveils Rabin’s complex personality: at once truthful, innocent and timid, but also brave, resolute and resilient.

“Through his personal and political trajectory, private thoughts and public iterations, we learn about ourselves and the twists and turns the State of Israel and Israeli society have taken over the years,” Laufer said.

Two decades and a generation after Rabin’s death, it’s a timely moment to reflect on his legacy, Laufer said. “Myths are made by men. Rabin was very human; the intimacy of this portrait will reveal just how much.”

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