Himmo, King of Jerusalem (1987)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - Israel  |  
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Based on a popular Israeli war novel and set during the country's 1948 War of Independence within besieged Jerusalem, this symbolic, gripping film from noted director Amos Guttman offers an unflinching, reality-tinged look at the trauma and pain of those who suffered to create their country. It is also a strange love story between a pretty volunteer nurse and those in the temporary hospital ward where she works. The "hospital" is actually an abandoned monastery and her ward is located in the belfry. She became a volunteer following the death of her lover, a soldier. Among the injured, the patients have managed to form a hierarchy and two sometimes-rowdy young fellows have become the leaders. Also in the ward is Himmo, a blinded soldier who has had most of his limbs amputated without anesthesia, something not available in the besieged city. When the "leaders" see their new nurse, they immediately decide they are in love with her. Then Himmo is moved into their ward. The only words he can speak are "shoot me, shoot me" and everyone, even Himmo's brother Lavi, knows that he will soon die. At first the nurse is frightened of Himmo and his horrible injuries, but then she learns from one of the leaders, Himmo's best friend, that the mutilated man in the bed was once called "Himmo, King of Jerusalem," and was a charismatic ladies man. Intrigued, the nurse begins to find herself somehow drawn to the former "king." Soon fascination turns to something close to obsession, and when she begins treating the other patients with only perfunctory professionalism, resentment begins to build. The tension reaches its peak when Himmo gets moved to the bed nearest the door, the spot reserved for those about to die. The nurse moves her own bed next to his. One night she is tenderly caring for the suffering Himmo when tensions explode. Though Himmo has unwittingly created resentment, he has also created a difficult dilemma. Though in terrible pain and obviously desperate to die, his body refuses to give up, causing the nurse and the ward to agonize about whether or not they have the courage to end his life themselves.

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Keywords

war, alcoholism, amputation, anesthesia, blindness [physical], brother, charisma, death, doctor/nurse, doll, door, emotion, fear, friendship, girl, help, hitman, hospital, independence, injection, invasion, Israeli [nationality], leader, life, love, military, military-hospital, monastery, pain, party, patient [medical], promise, reaction, ring [jewelry], scream, sexual, shortage, suffering, tension, trauma, turmoil, volunteer, war-atrocities, weapons, wound [injury]