Hatufim, (Hebrew for abductees), is the original Israeli drama that inspired the creation of Homeland, staring Claire Danes and Damien Lewis. Hatufim or Prisoners of War as it is more commonly known follows the story of three Israeli Defence Force Reservists who are captured in Lebanon and taken prisoner by the enemy. Arrow Films Noir Label released a box set of Season Two at the end of July, continuing the acclaimed show.
Season 1Nimrod Klein, Uri Zach and Amiel Ben-Horin, the prisoners are thought lost for seventeen years until they are suddenly returned to their country, only two have survived the ordeal. They then have to deal with seeing family and friends once more. The situation is complicated by the fact that some have moved on with their lives, family members have died and children have grown up not knowing their fathers. Their reintegration into Israeli society and family life is difficult to say the least. Some people are not convinced by the events as retold by Nimrod and Uri, in fact a psychiatrist finds holes in their stories and launches an investigation to uncover the truth about these two men, held up as heroes by their countrymen. A word of warning there may be some Season 1 spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen it, just pop out and get the DVD to catch up.
The revelation that Amiel may in fact still be alive is taken to Haim and Iris who launch an investgation into what really happened and where he might be. The second season continues to follow the families of Nimrod and Uri, still adjusting to life now the prisoners have returned. Lives are in pieces and everyone tries to find the best way to deal with a situation very few have ever encountered. A change does occur in season 2, instead of seeing Amiel in Yael’s flashbacks, we now encounter him alive and see him in a new light, living as a Muslim in Syria and using a new name, Yusuf. The new dynamic of Yusuf, adds even more intrigue to the show as we feel the need to find out more about what really happened while these men were away from home!
It is clear to see why the writers of Homeland were so inspired to create a show for English speaking audiences based on Prisoners of War. In Hebrew with English subtitles, the show loses none of the impact and delivers the tale fraught with deceit, fear, terror and high with emotion. Told with striking honesty and no holds barred, it is a show not to be missed. The actors are incredibly believable and deliver a stark insight into the minds of their characters.