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Again, something out of real life: It was a lengthy battle in the First Jewish-Roman War in which a Roman legion conquered a mountain fortress in the Judean desert where 960 Jews (many of them members of an extremist group known as the Sicarii) had taken refuge.
Amid the dusty rocks of the desert she paints a world where women, though stripped of power, are not powerless, and strong women are mistrusted, even feared, as "prophetesses or witches".
| Cookie Settings. The man who went head-to-head with a ravenous T. rex and left poor, piano-playing, mute Holly Hunter fingerless (the price of hooking up with Harvey Keitel) saunters his way into the opening scene of this very silly two-night CBS miniseries — executive produced by Christian-entertainment power couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett — and proceeds to lend gravitas to what is otherwise goofball. The work is humble and dirty but, amid the filth and noise of the birdhouses, the women grow close, their lives becoming inextricably bound together.
The formidable ladies are: Yael, the daughter of a ruthless assassin. TWITTER These women are drawn together by their work as Masada's dovekeepers, collecting the birds' eggs and gathering their droppings to fertilise the fortress's orchards.
While men's magic is public – the exorcisms of priests, the magic of sages – that of women is a secret thing, practised "behind locked doors".
You could call it a hoopla sandwich. Imagine Cecil B. DeMille directing Game of Thrones on a Sharknado budget — which honestly might be a better use of your brainpower. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. By Lisa Schwarzbaum. What is the siege of Masada? Author Alice Hoffman reimagined the story through the eyes of those two women in a New York Times best-selling novel that boasts an effusive pull quote from Toni Morrison. It does not keep us from hoping with them that they still might survive to alter them. by
Only two women and five children survived. While she looks, a dove comes and settles on her hands. In AD70, Hoffman's characteristic elision of the magical and the quotidian finds its spiritual home. All are burdened with secrets. It’s doubtful any Nobel Prize winners will be giving kudos to the small-screen adaptation, which is filled to the brim with chintzy special effects and subpar acting, plus the kind of Harlequin-novel eroticism that went out of fashion long before Fabio stopped shilling for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. But Shirah disgraces herself by having an affair with (and getting impregnated by) married man Eleazar Ben Ya’ir (Mido Hamada) — who eventually will lead the Jews at Masada — and is banished by Joseph.
Neill plays Titus Flavius Josephus, a real-life figure who was born a Jew, enslaved by the Romans then gained his freedom and became the empire’s devoted historian.
After a bunch of time-killing interludes involving everything from a rebellious daughter (Kathryn Prescott) who wants to be more warrior than woman to a jealous ghost who looks like she stepped right out of the videotape in Ringu, our two heroines finally cross paths again in Masada. THE DOVEKEEPERS is the story of four remarkable women who come to Masada, the Judean desert where 900 Jews held out for many months against Roman armies in 70 CE. In the years after the destruction of the Second Temple, some 900 Jewish rebels and their families fled Jerusalem and took refuge in the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada, on the eastern edge of the Judean desert. Alice Hoffman, the author of more than 20 novels, has established a reputation for stories that blend the mundane with the miraculous. "After all I'd done and all my sins, it came to me, unafraid."
In this novel she adopts instead a leaden faux-biblical argot that, combined with a surfeit of historical detail, prevents the story from taking flight. The difficulty with The Dovekeepers is that these moments of hope are too few and far between. Their decisions are directed by prophecies and by dreams, their faith sustained by miracles. CBS' two-part adaptation of Alice Hoffman’s best-selling novel is a cheap, chintzy adventure. The only account we have of the actual event is “The Jewish War,” written around that time by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian who became a Roman citizen.
The first night of the miniseries details Shirah and Yael’s upbringing: Yael’s father, Joseph Bar Elhanan (Manuel Cauchi), blames his daughter for killing her mother in childbirth and he hires Shirah to look after her. The Dovekeepers, by contrast, is set in Judea in AD70, during the first Jewish-Roman war. Wind goes “through” Yael until she is left in “emptiness.” And Shirah supposedly rips her clothes until her hands bleed. The dovekeepers are spurred to resilience by determination to protect those whom they love. Some scholars have faulted Josephus’ account, accusing him of fictional embroidery and sensationalism. The Hollywood Reporter, LLC is a subsidiary of Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Aziza was raised as a boy and a warrior, and her mother, Shirah, is reputed to be a witch. The Dovekeepers Review. Only two women and five children are reported to have survived. When at last she describes the sight of 6,000 Roman soldiers of the 10th Legion marching across the desert, raising so much dust that "birds fell from the sky, unable to take flight in the bursts of swirling gravel", one has endured so much misery that one is numb to the terrible significance of the moment.
Keith Uhlich If your entire tribe has just committed mass suicide, and you are among the lucky (or unlucky) few left to tell the tale, who better to spill your guts to than Sam Neill? According to the historian Josephus, when the fortress finally fell the occupants killed themselves en masse rather than submit to capture and enslavement by the Romans.
“The Dovekeepers” details the interactions of six women: Shirah, the Witch of Moab, and her two daughters, Aziza and Nahara; Yael, the daughter of a ruthless political assassin; Revka, whose husband has been killed and daughter brutalized by the Romans; and Channa, the reclusive, barren wife of a character based on the real-life leader of the Jewish rebels. The archaic prose style doesn't help.
Fri 4 Nov 2011 22.54 GMT
Hoffman is a writer of great perception and she captures with precision the complexity of the relationships between the women, their fear and guilt, their courage, their hunger for consolation and companionship. The world goes on, Hoffman tells us, and despite its horrors, despite hatred and wanton brutality and the suffocating press of despair, there will always be hope, small acts of reconciliation, whether we deserve them or not. The novel is Alice Hoffman’s latest book, “The Dovekeepers,” which attempts to retell the story of the Jewish resistance during the Roman siege of Masada in the first century. Privacy | In her acknowledgments, Hoffman reminds us that she is neither a historian nor a religious scholar and declares that the novel is meant to “give voice” to the women who participated in the Jewish struggle, whose stories “have often gone unwritten.” I have no doubt that “The Dovekeepers” was conceived as a worthy project, but good research and good intentions don’t necessarily yield good novels.
Full Review (711 words). Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel. When the women take lovers, steal babies, cast spells, their actions feel contrived. Yael’s lover kisses her “everywhere” and rivets her attention “like bee stings.” Revka sees the doves turning “the entire sky white” and claims that “not a brick would remain” of the town she fled before coming to Masada. FACEBOOK The abundance of overstatement and clumsy description minimizes the impact of actual dramatic events. There, during the film’s second part, they take care of a tower where doves congregate (hence the title), have steamy interludes with their respective love interests (Shirah with Eleazar and Yael with a strapping slave played by Diarmaid Murtagh) and wait glumly for those massing Romans to launch an attack.
Five of these women have worked tending to Masada’s dovecotes, forming a small community within the larger one. That we know from Josephus how the story must end only adds to the sense, so strongly shared by the women themselves, that their fates are already decided.
“The Dovekeepers'” human cast is a mélange of international flavors with nearly every continent accounted for — from the lead actresses representing the Americas and Europe to … All rights reserved. Without a doubt, this is Alice Hoffman's finest work to date, catapulting it far and above her previous endeavors...continued. Hoffman usually writes with a spare lyricism that counterbalances the more fanciful flights of her imagination. There is only a sense of relief that, at last, it will soon be over.
And director Yves Simoneau (late of the Jamie Lee Curtis psycho-matriarch thriller Mother’s Boys) fails to give the proceedings any sense of epic grandeur. Desire for Jerusalem is “a fire that could not be quenched.” Revka says the desert, apparently vacant, is actually full, “much like water in a cup,” and later that water is clear “like an open window.”. The dovekeepers' lives are punctuated by prayers, curses and omens. Josephus gives an account of his own experiences, first fighting for the Jewish struggle and then as an emissary for the Roman Empire.
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