Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Soon after this film started I had to ask Anne which Lebanon war this was about. Because the film takes place entirely inside a tank there is little to identify where and when the events are taking place. Lebanon (like Waltz with Bashir) is about Israel's 1982-2000 invasion (rather than the 1978 or 2006 invasions). The enemy is merely identified as terrorists (but are the PLO).

The first thing that struck me was how scared and undisciplined the four Israeli tank crew are compared with the ten or so Israeli soldiers walking ahead of the tank. This difference in attitude is never explained. What is going on outside the tank is mostly seen through the gunner's sight, which gives a magnified, yet constricted view of the world. The other thing that seemed odd to me is that the turret hatch is operated from outside so people can jump into the tank without a by-your-leave!

This is a movie about four scared young men who don't want to go to war, don't want to be in the army and don't want to kill people. They bicker with each other. They are horrified by what they see and are ordered to do. The war as we/they see it is obviously a one-sided affair with a modern war machine pitted against lightly armed amateurs and civilians, with predictable results.

Written and directed by Samuel Maoz, who served in this war, it is a look at war from the point of view of those that don't want to be involved in war and don't see the point of it. It has the feeling of a film that was made from a play, with its small cast, single set and the importance of the dialog as opposed to action. If you want to see a film about the 1982-2000 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Waltz with Bashir is a much better film (I have yet to see Beaufort - set at the other end of this war).

There was odd moment of shock at one point when a Christian Phalangist fighter (Ashraf Barhom) turns and smiles with the same feral smile he used as Ammonius the Christian preacher in Agora a couple of days ago!

Ian's rating 2/5 Anne's rating 3.5/5

Anne: This wasn't just a film about not wanting to be involved in war; it also deals with what it's like to be inside a tank (something I hadn't considered before), what it's like to be required to actually fight rather than practice and what its like if your fellow soldiers don't behave in the prescribed way. I was engrossed, and not just because the gunner looked like Daniel Carter. And we saw some little blue penguins on the way to the movie - always a highlight. .

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