And for those who thought that the first film in the series, The Price Of Kings: Yasser Arafat was too one-sided and perhaps my review a bit too favourable, the second film of the 12 documentaries on leadership by Spirit Level Film, The Price Of Kings: Shimon Peres comes to bring a much needed balance. The other side always needs to be heard, even in conflicts that seem straightforward and easy to judge. Judging is never easy, conflicts are never straightforward. And what’s worth stressing is that this series of documentaries refrains from taking sides, allows its subjects and people connected to them to do all the talking, praising, criticising and concluding and leaves its audience with a great deal of new knowledge, allowing each viewer to draw the conclusion he wants and take the side he deems appropriate.
The second film deals with yet another heavily controversial leader, the current President and twice Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres. And although anyone openly in favour of the Arabs and Palestine would refrain from ever wanting to watch a film about Peres and allow the Israeli leader and the people around him to state their case, I highly recommend that they take the time and listen to what the Israeli side has to say. This is not a propaganda and this is definitely not against any of the two sides. The same way that Yasser Arafat and Palestine’s side were discussed thoroughly and their points were recognised and accepted, in exactly the same way, Shimon Peres and Israel are now given the chance to be heard and accepted for what they stand for.
It is most often the case that we think that extensive research or the information we get from the media and the faces of the people we see on a daily basis on newspapers and TV are enough to make us feel like we know what’s happening, like we know the people, the leaders, the difficulties and challenges they face. We fall into the trap of judging them too quickly and fail to understand the sacrifices they sometimes have to make. However until some real light is shed, we know nothing but what the media lets out. This is exactly why documentaries with interviews of the subjects themselves, of other important political figures that acted around the same time, of allies and adversaries, of family and friends are what ultimately makes all the difference. And this is how a series of interviews on location in The Price Of Kings: Shimon Peres allows the leader’s side to be heard and examined and shows how and why Nobel Peace Prize Shimon Peres remained a beloved leader by his people for more than seven decades, right in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The writers and directors Joanna Natasegara and Richard Symons deliver a gripping, honest and highly educational film once again that is much more than just a biography of an important leader. The Price Of Kings: Shimon Peres is a very powerful and engaging movie that almost approaches in genre a thriller. Helena Bonham Carter’s narration adds to the suspense and the documentary ends up being a fascinating political as well as personal narrative which reveals much more than one would normally expect. The fact that Shimon Peres himself occupies most of the film’s time with his own interview is what makes the documentary so frank and enlightening, but also each time the leader’s granddaughter, Mika Peres, contributes to the conversation, the insight given from her side is essential and unique as she sheds light to the man behind the politician and the quality of the leader’s strong personality behind all the failures, the mistakes, the successes and his great popularity.
The documentary covers everything from the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, to the Oslo Accords in 1993, the first official attempt to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and from the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the architecture of the famous Israeli nuclear program to the gradual challenges faced in maintaining this much wanted by both sides peace. Besides Shimon and Mika Peres, fifth President of Israel Yitzhak Navon, former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, Professor and Biographer of Shimon Peres Michael Bar-Zohar, General Director of Shimon’s Residence Efrat Duvdevani, Chief Negotiator for Israel Uri Savir, Israeli writer Uri Avnery, Peres’ aide during his rivalry with Yitzhak Rabin Gideon Levy, General Moshe Dayan’s ex-wife Ruth Dayan, Israeli peace activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman, former advisor to Yasser Arafat Dr. Ahmad Tibi and Israeli businessman and long-time friend of Shimon Peres Danny Gillerman, all are interviewed, express their opinions, are given the chance to talk about the Israeli President and shed light into his controlled, obscure but also powerful personality.
The Price Of Kings: Shimon Peres deals with the man behind the leader, the reasons behind all his successes and failures, his mistakes, his sacrifices, the difficulty of balancing family life and the heavy task of leading a nation, his well-known exterior self-control and his completely unknown interior sensitivity and loneliness. The film examines Shimon Peres’ own pursuit of peace, his passion for leading his country and making a difference, his desire to be liked and accepted by his people and his aspiration to bring peace to Israel. The second documentary in the leadership series by Joanna Natasegara, Richard Symons and Spirit Level Film will premiere on Thursday the 26th April at Cineworld, Haymarket in London.
The Price Of Kings: Yasser Arafat at Unsung Films