Panorama Documentary

BERLIN -- Full of talking heads, Dror Moreh's documentary "Sharon," about former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is clearly a television program lacking the flair and ambition of feature documentaries.

The hard-headed warrior who became a controversial political leader and now lies in a coma, reversed the convictions of a lifetime in 2005 with his policy of unilateral disengagement by Israel from the Gaza Strip and parts of Samaria.

Settlers were evacuated and homes were dismantled. Israel left Gaza after 38 years and built a wall around it. With the 1.5 million mostly Palestinian residents of the strip still facing dreadful turmoil, it's a good time to take a look at a man who helped initiate the long harsh occupation of the area only to later withdraw suddenly.

Moreh's film is a dry history lesson, however, as an assortment of political allies and adversaries comment on Sharon and his actions. Perhaps a worthy document for scholars, it is unlikely to claim broad appeal.

There are clips from Sharon's political career and of him at home and on the campaign trail. It's even-handed and reaches no conclusions. Sharon remains in a coma after a stroke in 2005 with the reason for his change of heart still a mystery.

One quote from an old interview offers a clue to the ex-soldier when he describes having to work in politics with people "who have never had to make serious decisions and never knew the thrill of victory."