Consider Thorold Dickinson’s 1954 film "Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer" and Baruch Dinar’s landmark 1960 drama "They Were Ten." Each film has a tragic ending in which the death of Zionist patriots is a necessary prelude to the founding of a Jewish state. Then look at Uri Zohar’s "Every Bastard a King" and Joseph Millo’s "He Walked Through the Fields," both made late in 1967 (although the latter is set in 1948), both guardedly upbeat, with heroic protagonists who cheerfully rush through shot and shell to victory.
Although she continued to write film criticism throughout her life, Susan Sontag’s filmmaking career was fairly brief, basically consisting of three feature films made between 1969 and 1974 (she also made a telefilm for RAI in 1983). After two fiction features, “Duet for Cannibals” (1969) and “Brother Carl” (1971), Sontag turned her hand to documentary and what would prove to be her most overt statement on Jewish matters, “Promised Lands” (1974). That rarely shown film is getting a weeklong run beginning on Feb. 4.