Karnit Goldwasser is the young wife of Ehud Goldwasser, one of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in 2006, an action that launched the second Lebanon war. Through interviews and vérité footage shot over roughly 18 months, Nirit Kedar crafts a complex story about one woman’s dogged determination to find out whether her husband is alive. She interviews Karnit, family members and friends, a media strategist, a former secret service man, military experts and many others.

Chuleenan Svetvilas
Chuleenan Svetvilas is a film journalist in Berkeley, California.

 

chronicle_of_a_kidnap_03_1The short scenes that make up the film offer a glimpse into the challenges Karnit faced in trying to get the Israeli government to negotiate for the release of her husband. The interviews are interspersed with brief scenes of Karnit’s life in which she has become a media-savvy celebrity in Israel, giving television interviews, holding press conferences, giving talks and making trips overseas to meet with and encourage foreign ministers to put pressure on her government. She even has a meeting with Nicholas Sarkozy in France, during which she uses a hidden microphone so the audio was captured and the viewer can hear the French president say, “I will do everything in my power to get your husband back. But I simply cannot speak directly to Hezbollah.

Karnit meets with Nicholas Sarkozy using a hidden microphone

At different intervals throughout the film Kedar inserts jarring scenes of a bicyclist riding along the Israeli-Lebanon border, the identity of whom is eventually revealed as Karnit. The camera is itself mounted on a bicycle so the image is jumpy and the atonal music accompanying these scenes make the edits even more startling. The bicycle never stops, an apt metaphor for Karnit’s seemingly endless journey to discover the truth.

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When Karnit, her father and Ehud’s parents meet with Shimon Peres, Kedar makes the bold decision to distort the president’s audio when he speaks and simply show his face in a tight close-up as he listens to them making their case. After all, if no answers are forthcoming, then why include his words? The atonal music of the bicycle scenes is used throughout this entire sequence with Peres. The scene is heavily edited but does include a sentence from Karnit’s father who says, “Everything is secret. Why?” is is the most deliberately manipulated scene in the film, perhaps giving the viewer some idea of Karnit’s ordeal and the manipulation she faced from the Israeli government and others who never gave her a straight answer.

Chronicle of a Kidnap is a unique film that explores the aftermath of a kidnapping and that manages to convey, mostly through the editing and sound design, just part of the psychological state induced by going through such an ordeal.


© EDN/ModernTimes (previously published in DOX Magazine).
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