Security, the Movie: The Power of Lies to Ruin Lives (and Reflections Related to Israel)
The Italian movie, Security, available on Netflix, tells a powerful story of the unwillingness of the population of a small resort town to hear the truth, They shattered a neighbour’s reputation and life on the basis of suppositions and unchallenged suspicions. After I had recovered from the pain I felt at the end of the movie, I could not help but think about parallels with the Israeli situation; could I have gone that far because the title of the movie is a word much associated with a prime concern of the State of Israel? Perhaps that is what got this train of thought going, but reflection seemed to hold up my comparison.
I need to explain some of the movie in order to make my reasoning clear. Let me apologize in advance for the spoilers in this article because I do really have to talk about what was underlying the entire story in order for my comparison with Israel to make sense. (You might want to see the movie before reading the rest of this article.)
A Facebook friend was curious about how I found any correspondence between the movie and the situation in Israel, aside from the fact that everyone screwed everyone, that is. A good point, but not the one I was thinking about.
Everyone has an agenda, interests, upon which they evaluate the choices that face them at any given junction along the road. Some of these choices are well thought out and others seem quite spontaneous, perhaps momentary glitches in a life-pattern of essentially rational decisions. At times, when a decision proves to be wrong or harmful to oneself or to others, the individual is able to admit to error and make a correction. But when admitting error goes against the “agenda” or might make the individual feel like he or she would lose face, then the error may remain uncorrected regardless of who gets hurt. That is what happened in Security.
The Plot of Security
While the initial impression is that this is a thriller/action film, it is actually more of a psychological/sociological drama.
The story takes place during the winter in a summer resort town in Italy. The permanent population is small and apparently close-knit. But when Maria, a teenage girl in town, is assaulted one night, it appears that nobody much cares and they assume it is her father, Walter, as he was accused of molesting a very young Angela, the current mayorial candidate’s daughter who is, by now, also a teenager. For some reason, Walter was never charged, or at least, never tried in a court of law. The most respected town electrician, he lost his reputation and his income. He wife died soon afterward and he became an alcoholic, neglecting his growing daughter.
There are a few subplots, mostly involving betrayal and deceipt. The main plot involves Roberto, who runs a security company protecting homes of the wealthy; he is trying to uncover the truth and find the true perpetrator of the crime against Maria. Everyone believes it was Walter and are closed to any other possibilities.They even take as a confession of guilt Walter’s self-denigrating claim that it was his fault his daughter was assaulted that night (he meant that had he not been drunk, she would have stayed home and not been in danger).
Roberto is uncomfortable with the accusation against Walter given certain anomalies he detected and he uses his access to security tapes both on the streets and within the buildings he was hired to protect to track down the truth. Roberto’s wife, Claudia, is the mayorial candidate and she has a vested interest in denying the possiblity that her main donor, Pilati, in whose home the assault took place, had anything to do with it. She also has a vested interest in maintaining the fiction that Walter is a pedophile who molested her daughter over a decade earlier. Throughout the film, we see an angry Angela attempting to get her parents to fill in her missing memories of what happened with Walter when she was 7 years old, something her mother dismisses, claiming it makes sense that Angela has traumatic amnesia.
In the end, Roberto finds conclusive proof that the perpetrator was Pilati (and he also shared with Angela a detail that allowed her to understand that there were no traumatic memories to uncover). Unfortunately, Walter does not know this and when he goes to confront Pilati, to find out what happened in his house the night of the assault, Pilati lies and quite convincingly accuses Dario, an unreliable and wayward youth, of the crime. Walter takes a knife to seek out Dario and regain his daughter’s honour. Roberto is there and he saves Dario, telling Walter that the true criminal is Pilati. Feeling in a trap, unable to get anything right, unable to redeem his good name and make up for the years lost neglecting his daughter, he goes out to meet the cops who came to arrest him and, making threatening motions with the knife, essentially commits suicide by cop.
Finally, the entire town understands how they had wronged Walter. The final scenes of the movie show the town’s people reconnecting with each other at a deeper level than they had for a long time, sharing their pain and their regrets and their guilt.
But Walter is dead and gone.
And that is the part that made me think about Israel.
Israel, like Walter, is vilified today based on a lie. Until 1967, Israel was regarded by the world as a success story. Against all odds, the Jewish People regained sovereignty over her homeland, the land on which her ancient peoplehood was established and the only land upon which her spiritual life can be fully actualized.
For some reason, after the miraculous winning of the 7-Day War in 1967, everything was turned upside down. The Jews came to be regarded as invaders and land-stealers. Just like Walter had been a respected member of his community and then a situation arose in which he was lied about and his life destroyed, Jews suddenly were put on the defensive and forced to defend themselves against vicious lies. It was clear even at the time that Walter had not really molested Angela but nobody spoke up to clear his name. It fit some agendas to keep the lie going and nobody questioned those agendas. The same came be said about the situation regarding Israel.
Roberto knew that Walter did not molest Angela. But he went along with the lie and watched his friend lose his livelihood and dignity. Because he did not want to go up against his wife who had a vested interest in the lie? And what are the vested interests of those who know that lies are being spread about Israel and remain silent?
Where are the “Robertos” among the world’s peoples, those who finally recognize that the lying has gone on too long and the truth must be shouted out from the mountain tops?
If it should come to pass that Israel will be defeated once more and Jews slaughtered, our land taken over, will all those who knew the truth all along come together in mourning when their voices will no longer have an impact upon our lives? Will they commisserate each other in their pain and regrets and guilt? Will they cry crocodile tears and tell the remnant of Jews remaining that they are sorry?
The pain I felt at the end of the movie was the pain of knowing that we Israelis stand alone against the lies and that the world would, after a moment of regret if we are vanquished, sigh a kind-of “oh well” type of sigh. And they will move on. And the small proportion of remaining Jews will get to relive this cycle, this history, all over again.
Feature Image Credit: screenshot from the IMDb movie website.