In an old news clip that is played in the documentary Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story, a newscaster says, “You can tell a lot about a people by the rumors they share.” You can also tell a lot about a people by the ways they talk about their heroes—what they leave out, what they emphasize, how many warts, if any, they allow on the portrait. Co-directed by Ari Daniel Pinchot and screenwriter Jonathan Gruber, Follow Me is a celebration of the life and heroism of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was shot and killed in July of 1976 during the now-legendary rescue of Israeli hostages being held at an airline terminal in Entebbe, Uganda. Their flight from Tel Aviv to Paris had been hijacked by Palestinians demanding the release of imprisoned fellow Palestinians they deemed freedom fighters. Netanyahu’s death capped a promising military career he never wanted and ended his dream of being an academic. In terms of its craftsmanship, it’s state-of-now documentary filmmaking as it intercuts between two narrative tracks: the days and then hours leading up to the rescue, and a look at Yoni’s personal life from childhood through his last romantic relationship. But there are so many complicated political, religious, and cultural issues swirling around Yoni’s story, and Follow Me keeps them on the sidelines. It is pure hagiography.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 16, 2012