In the cinema, the political biographical drama is a puzzle genre whose number of examples, happy or unhappy, is so high that it could be made into a festival. Think of La dame de fer by Phyllida Lloyd, De Gaulle by Gabriel Le Bomin, W. by Oliver Stone or the hailed The Queen by Stephen Frears.
Hold ! Precisely, the British actress Helen Mirren, Oscar winner for her interpretation of Elizabeth II in The Queen, slips here into the skin of Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974).
True to herself, the actress is fair and remarkable in this role of a politician who, isolated in a world of men and overwhelmed with responsibilities, broods, has nightmares, hears her soldiers die live on the radio waves. , never smiles and finds comfort in a mind-blowing consumption of cigarettes.
But the war against the Arab world is not the only one led by the Prime Minister. A lymphoma awaits her, and she undergoes radiotherapy treatments in a hospital where she enters through the morgue so as not to be seen.
We will have understood that death lurks everywhere in this film directed by the Israeli Guy Nattiv, winner in 2018 of the Oscar for best short fiction film for Skin.
Here, the filmmaker takes sides with Israel, a victim in the conflict, and with Ms. Meir, a victim in the maze of the coalition government that she carries at arm’s length. The director is still capable of nuances, especially when the Prime Minister, after the encirclement of the 3rd Egyptian Army, says she is ready to have the 30,000 soldiers trapped massacred and create “an army of widows and orphans” if the neighboring enemy does not kneel down.
The work has this quality of appealing to the five senses of the protagonists to explore the explosive atmosphere in which they are immersed from the first to the last second. Close-ups of the eyes, hands, skin, hair, mouth, feet, not to mention the nose (of the heroine) to make people understand that stress and discomfort are also physical. Great job, especially in the thunderous sound recording.
Finally, a word on the performance of Camille Cottin, withdrawn but very present, in the role of Lou Kaddar, assistant to the Prime Minister. On the contrary, Liev Schreiber did not convince us in that of the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Golda is presented only in the original English version.