Coming this summer

‘Image of Victory’ to be first Israeli-made film to stream on Netflix Israel

The film takes place against the background of Battle of Nitzanim during 1948 Independence War; film’s producer Ehud Bleiberg’s father fought in bloody battle

Joy Rieger as Miri Ben-Ari in the film "Image of Victory." (Screengrab. YouTube)
Joy Rieger as Miri Ben-Ari in the film "Image of Victory." (Screengrab. YouTube)

“Image of Victory” will begin streaming this summer on Netflix Israel, marking the first time an Israeli-made film will appear on the country’s service, Channel 12 reported Wednesday.

The film, which was previewed at the Haifa International Film Festival in September, will also appear on the streaming platform’s US service at a future date.

The comedy film “Maktub” was the first Israeli film to stream on the US service.

Directed by Avi Nesher (“The Other Story,” “Past Life”) and starring Joy Rieger (“Valley of Tears,” “Greener Pastures”) and Amir Khoury (“Fauda,” “7 Days in Entebbe”), the film was critically acclaimed, and nominated for 15 Ophir Awards, winning three, for Best Cinematography, Best Costume, and Best Makeup.

The movie tells the story of Egyptian filmmaker Hassanin, played by Khoury, who is tasked with producing a propaganda film while embedded into an Egyptian military platoon stationed nearby Kibbutz Nitzanim, during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Rieger plays Miri Ben-Ari, a confident resident of the Kibbutz and heroine of the film.

The film’s producer, Ehud Bleiberg (“The Iceman,” “Adam Resurrected”) was notified of the decision by Netflix moments before giving a speech at a Memorial Day ceremony last month marking the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Nitzanim, which serves as the background of the film. Bleiberg has a personal connection to the battle: His father, Yerachmiel Bleiberg was one of the defenders of the kibbutz and was briefly captured by the Egyptian army after the battle.

The Battle of Nitzanim was fought in June 1948 between the vastly outnumbered residents of the kibbutz and the Egyptian army. The kibbutz was overtaken temporarily by the Egyptians after many of the residents were killed in the battle, only to be retaken by the IDF at a later stage in the war.

Addressing the Memorial Day ceremony, Bleiberg said the film marked a “turning point,” as it draws attention to the little-known battle.

The film joins another recent Israeli entry into Netflix, “Beauty Queen of Jerusalem,” a series set during the Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine. The first 10 episodes were released in May, and the second batch of 10 episodes is set to be released on June 29.

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