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August 1–7, 2014

Chicago Premiere


Film still: Policeman Film still: Policeman Film still: Policeman
Special Jury Prize
Locarno Intl
Film Fest
Best Film
Best Actor
Best Cinematography
+ 3 other awards
Israeli Academy
"It's been a long time since a first feature has displayed such masterly direction... a major film as brilliant in formal terms as in its ideas"
Critics' Pick "An electrifying debut, which traces the line between the group and the individual in a story that can be read as a commentary on the world as much as on Israel"
  —New York Times
"A slow-burning marvel"
  —Village Voice
"Policeman is loaded with coherent insight into the nuances of contemporary Israeli society... [Nadav] Lapid's script explores the personal dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a manner that few other recent entries in Israeli cinema have even tried"
3 stars½ "Compelling"
  —Slant Magazine
"Politically shrewd, strikingly shot... an ambient unease has been built into the film's thoughtful cutting and framing, more Antonioni than Haneke"
  —Film Comment
4 stars
  —TimeOut Chicago

A boldly conceived drama pivoting on the initially unrelated activities of an elite anti-terrorist police unit and some wealthy young anarchists, Policeman is the striking film debut from writer-director Nadav Lapid.

Yaron, a special operations squad leader, is the alpha male among his peers, a highly trained team that is part of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Anti-Terrorism unit. Like a band of brothers, these men work, play, laugh, and cry together, dedicated to the idea that they are true patriots, for love of country, their families, and each other. Yaron is ambitious and energetic, but he is valiantly trying to multi-task many things at the same time. His wife is expecting their first child, and the failing health of a team member weighs on his conscience as his men contend with an accident resulting from a miscalculation during a recent rescue mission.

As the story shifts, the antagonists are introduced: a radical revolutionary group, made up entirely of Israeli Jews, who are planning a major act of violence intended to shatter the status quo of Israeli society. Their complaints mainly have to do with class and economic disparities, as they set forth to make their anti-capitalist anarchist vision a reality.

Policeman is one of the rare films to be critical of the Israeli state from the inside. Lapid is an Israeli Jew daring to boldly and broadly question the fundamental building blocks of Israeli society. The movie was completed just before the recent high-profile mass protests in the Middle East, including the upheaval in Egypt, as well as social protests in Israel itself, over economic divides and real estate prices.

Directed by Nadav Lapid, Israel, 2011, 100 mins. In Hebrew with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Aug. 1 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Aug. 2 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Mon.–Tues. & Thurs., Aug. 4–5 & 7 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Wed., Aug. 6 at 9 pm
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$9 general admission

FREE for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation