“Ben-Gurion, Epilogue” exists only because the silent film of a 1968 interview discovered in a Jerusalem archive was married to audio reels found at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva.
“Epilogue” presents an 82-year-old David Ben-Gurion, five years after he resigned as prime minister of Israel, living at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev, where he insisted on being addressed as “David.”
The conversation at the heart of “Epilogue” was conducted in English and is supplemented in the 70-minute film with snippets from previous interviews, photographs, and historical footage, including television newscasts.
In “Epilogue,” which will screen three times at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Ben-Gurion reflects on his political life and retirement, Israel’s progress toward living up to its virtues, and his relationship with his wife, Paula, who died just four months before the 1968 interview.
Ben-Gurion, who left Poland in 1906 dedicated to the Zionist cause, delivers his assessment a year after the 1967 Six-Day War: “I knew that we were entitled to the whole of Israel. This was our country. It was never a Palestinian people. There was never a Palestinian state, and we never gave up on our hope to come back to our country, and it is our country.”
But if forced to choose, Ben-Gurion makes clear that he would return territories captured in 1967, except for Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, for peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors.
Paula Ben-Gurion, the Russian-born American he married in 1917 in New York, appears in an interview from a few years earlier. When Ben-Gurion insists, “I can exist without politics,” his wife interjects, “No, you can’t. It’s born in you.”
“Epilogue” also includes a brief scene of Ben-Gurion with physicist Albert Einstein, a side-by-side of two of the most famous heads of hair in the 20th century.