Rutenberg | Chicago Reader

Rutenberg

Eli Cohen strikes a solemn, meditative tone with this 1989 biopic of Pinchas Rutenberg, who brought electricity to Jewish Palestine in the early 20th century by building a hydroelectric power station in Nahararyim. Cohen and screenwriter Yaron Seelig take an elliptical approach to the story, setting it in 1931 when the power station was to open and using flashbacks, some quite brief, to show how Rutenberg was implicated in trying to overthrow the Russian czarist government and how he lobbied Winston Churchill and other British MPs to bankroll his electricity project. Rutenberg, a complex, larger-than-life figure involved in monumental historical events, warrants more in-depth treatment than this 90-minute feature can supply.

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