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The Boston Globe

Movies

Spy masters open up in Oscar-nominated ‘Gatekeepers’

NEW YORK — As “The Gatekeepers” director Dror Moreh is fond of saying, the power of his Oscar-nominated documentary derives not only from what the subjects of the film have to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but from who is delivering those words.

Moreh’s film, which opens in the Boston area on Friday and is vying for best documentary feature at Sunday’s Academy Awards, centers on the six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency (also known as Shabak), which handles intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations. Observations like “You can’t make peace through military means” or “We win every battle but we lose the war” don’t seem particularly jaw-dropping at first blush. But your ears perk up when these candid insights and moral qualms are uttered by six steely spy masters who toiled for an agency known for its secretive and ruthless ways.

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