Written and directed by Samuel Maoz
Screening at from 3rd-10th June
This film - except for the opening and closing moments - is set inside
a tank, and features the inevitable claustrophobic and mind-numbing effects
of being in a hot and filthy metal can ready to be blown up at any time.
Directed and written by a former Israeli conscript soldier, this is no
propaganda piece extolling Israel's right to invade Lebanon in 1982. Indeed
there is little political context within the movie, although one can not
doubt it has an overwhelming anti-war message.
Unsurprisingly, the film has not been welcomed with open arms in Israel,
where it is still awaiting a wide release.
The drama of Lebanon - it could surely have had a better title - is set
within a 24 hour timespan during the opening days of the conflict, with
a major part of what you see - often horrendous atrocities commited by
the Israelis against often unarmed Lebanese - being observed through the
The whining and metallic sound of the gun turret adds further dramatic
impact to what is being seen, as the gunner changes its direction to focus
on something new.
One particular powerful image among many - the cinematography of Giora
Bejach is also highly impressive - is a shot of a elderly Lebanese man
sitting at a cafe table, seemingly almost unmoved by a fellow Lebanese
slumped dead on the same table, covered in blood.
All the soldiers in the tank are all conscript rookies - the gunner Shmulik
(Yoav Donat) has never fired a gun in anger, and kills one of his own
men when he finally does, after an anguished tussle with his nerves.
The tension in the tank rises almost minute by minute as the conflict
outside their confines intensifies, and the fighting gets bloodier.
This reaches fever pitch at the end of the film, when they are apparently
abandoned inside an already bombed city, surrounded by unseen Syrian troops,
and lose radio contact with their commanding officers.