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Ben Gurion: Epilogue

By Michelle Campbell

During October, the Kwazulu Natal Zionist Council hosted the Premiere screening of the film “Ben Gurion: Epilogue”. This well attended event was opened with an introduction by Ori Leizer of the World Zionist Organization under whose auspices the film was brought to South Africa.

This extraordinary documentary is based on black-and-white footage discovered at the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive in Jerusalem, but was missing the soundtrack. That the audio portion was subsequently retrieved from the Ben-Gurion Archives in Negev was nothing short of miraculous. To create the film, the six-hour interview, conducted in 1968, is interwoven with news footage and other clips that contain everything from historic moments of oratory, to charming shots of the elder statesman doing a headstand on the beach. Filmed just months after his wife Paula’s death, Ben Gurion’s very spartan life on Kibbutz Sde Boker is vividly portrayed in windswept dessert splendour. The film conveys a wonderful portrait of a well-read man who looks back at his life, good decisions and bad, with wisdom and intelligence. Ben-Gurion at 82, spry and quick-witted, almost comes across as a kibbutznik Yoda. The film is an absolute delight, offering an intimate look at what was going on inside Ben-Gurion’s heart and mind at the time.