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Jerry Cutler On Film—‘Azimuth’ Is A Dazzling Story Of The Six Day War

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 – 4:05 PM

It’s the end of the 1967 Six Day War. A wounded Egyptian, lying in the Sinai sand with his dead comrades nearby, gets up and begins his arduous trek over the hot sand looking for a secure and shady place to rest. He comes across a two-story abandoned UN outpost.

He climbs the stairs, which is a better location to detect if anyone approaches. He sees a jeep driven by an Israeli soldier chugging along emitting billows of smoke from its engine. It stops outside the burnt-out building.

The Egyptian, armed with his rifle, sets his sight on his sworn enemy. The Israeli spots his nemesis and makes a dash to the front entrance. The Egyptian (Sammy Sheik) and the Israeli (Liftach Klein) are both excellent as they try to carry out their appointed mission to kill the enemy.

Their backgrounds are the same. Each has been taught to love their God and dedicated to eliminate the other. As told in a flashback, both have a wife and children they hope to see grow in an atmosphere of peace.

Mike Burstyn, a 71-year-old movie and singing star in Israel, wrote and directed his screenplay. Although starring in the immensely popular Kuni Lemel comedies in Israel, this is his first directorial effort and it’s a huge success. The action of the two arch enemies never abates and although at first you might favor one over the other, in Burstyn’s capable hands, you root for both to survive. The tension builds to a climax as the combatants equipped with bullets and grenades succeed in inflicting great bodily harm on the other.

The climax of Burstyn’s eye-opening illuminating foray into the mid-East can be translated into a century-old prayer between these two biblical enemies of hope and tranquility descending on both peoples. Can it evolve into reality? Burstyn has high hopes. A viewing of Azimuth would be a great place to start.

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