*Please note that this screening will be at the PHILADELPHIA FILM CENTER, the new name for the Prince Theater (same address).
20 years ago, Benjamin Netanyahu discovered the political benefits of distancing himself from the media and communicating with his public directly. KING BIBI explores Israel’s longest-serving prime minister’s remarkable ascension to power and the role American-style politicking has played in shaping his legacy.
Using only archival footage of Netanyahu’s televised appearances through the years, director Dan Shadur demonstrates how “Bibi” evolved from Israel’s chief political hope to the provocative figure dominating today’s top headlines. Despite publically confessing to adultery in 1993 and recently being investigated for corruption, supporters in both Israel and the US continue to deem Israel’s nationalist leader as “Savior of the Jewish State.” Setting aside his mastery of public speaking and adeptness for navigating public opinion, Netanyahu has introduced a period of sustained economic growth in Israel. Under his leadership, the country has flourished ties with countries around the world, cultivated new alliances with Arab governments, and achieved a satisfactory level of security by Israeli standards.
Shadur’s well-researched and informative documentary deconstructs the man who is said to have single-handedly ushered Israeli politics into the 21st century. Supporter or not, it is undeniable that Bibi’s influence has galvanized both sides of the party line — and not just in the land of milk and honey. Even in Philadelphia (Bibi’s old stomping ground), the Prime Minister continues to be a reliable point of discussion and debate.