Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Israel/France/Lebanon/Germany, 2009. Ariel Films, Arsam International, Arte France, Israeli Film Fund, Metro Communications, Paralite, Torus. Screenplay by Samuel Maoz. Cinematography by Giora Bejach. Produced by Anat Bikel, Leon Edery, Moshe Edery, Ilann Girard, Benjamina Mirnik, Uri Sabag, David Silber. Music by Nicolas Becker, Benoit Delbecq. Production Design by Ariel Roshko. Costume Design by Hila Bargiel, Laura Sheim. Film Editing by Arik Leibovitch. Toronto International Film Festival 2009.
A group of soldiers embroiled in battle in the 1982 Lebanon war are the subject of this tight, claustrophobic drama whose scope is large but whose actual territory of observation is a few metres. Cramped inside a giant tank, these men are observed as their vehicle is at turns their protection, their escape and, eventually, their greatest danger. Director Samuel Maoz produces as effective an anti-war statement with close ups of fearful eyes and dirty faces as other films do with massive battles; which isn’t to say that the film doesn’t feature its fair share of conflict scenes, which it does with painful believability, but the scenes that focus more on the chamber piece nature of the cast make it stick in the mind the most. War is a muffled scream in this film, and the men suffer devastating disillusionment long before physical injury even comes to play in their story.