TIS and Braun Library Film Series Virtual Conversation
Sunday, April 25th, 2:00 p.m.
Our film discussions will take a hiatus until Sunday, April 18th, due to Passover and our TIS Annual Gala. On April 18th we will discuss the Netflix series, The Spy. In the 1960s, Israeli clerk-turned-secret agent Eli Cohen goes deep undercover inside Syria on a perilous, years-long mission to spy for Mossad.
About the mini-series:
The Spy is an English-language French espionage streaming television miniseries, written and directed by Israeli director Gideon Raff and Max Perry, based on the life of Israel’s top Mossad spy Eli Cohen, who is portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen. The six-episode miniseries, released on September 6, 2019, on Netflix, was inspired by real-life events. It is based on the book L’espion qui venait d’Israël (English: The Spy Who Came From Israel), written by Uri Dan and Yeshayahu Ben Porat.
The series has received “generally favorable reviews” according to Metacritic, with Baron Cohen’s performance being praised. However, the series has been criticized for lapses in historical accuracy. There is no independent verification about whom Cohen met with in the Syrian elite while working undercover in Buenos Aires or Damascus. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, Baron Cohen received a nomination for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
The real-life Eli Cohen
The miniseries follows the exploits of Eli Cohen, a Mossad spy. The story takes place during the years leading to the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and Syria. It follows Cohen’s past in Egypt as an army reject, to his infiltration of the Syrian Ministry of Defense. He assumes the identity of Kamel Amin Thaabet and establishes himself in Syrian high society. After having befriended people who would eventually take over Syria,Cohen is appointed as the country’s Deputy Defense Minister and becomes a close confidant to the future president Amin al-Hafiz.
Where to watch:
Some interesting articles about Eli Cohen and the mini series:
- The Times of Israel “The Real Story Behind “The Spy”
- Times of Israel interview with Nadia Cohen (wife)
- Oxford Chabad Society interview with Nadia Cohen
- The Times of Israel interview with Sophie Cohen (daughter)
Join the conversation:
Mark your calendar
Our next discussion will take place on Sunday, May 2nd.
If you would like to suggest a film, email Beth Klareich.