Friday, September 3, 2010


War drama
In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

The day following the establishment of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948) the Middle East Arab nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq attacked the newly formed country. The territory being fought over was regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland and by the Pan-Arab movement as belonging to the Palestinians. Known by Israelis as the War of Liberation and by the Arabs as the Catastrophe the 1948 Arab-Israel was the first in a series of conflicts between these two warring factions, but not the last.

Founded in 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization became a powerful force among the 300,000 refugees in Lebanon who had been forced out of their homes in what had become Israel. Continual violence near the border between the two countries began in 1968. In July 1981 Israel retaliated with air strikes after the PLO and the Syrian army began shelling northern Israel settlements. Between August 1981 and May 1982 there were more than 200 attacks against Israel targets.

On June 6, 1982 the First Lebanon War broke out when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon to suppress the PLO rocket launchers and bombs. Israeli forces were numerically superior, allowing Israel to maintain both the initiative and an element of surprise. The Syrian Army fielded six divisions and 500 aircraft, while the IDF had eleven tank divisions and twelve infantry brigades, plus 600 aircraft.

Yoav Donat: the gunner and newest recruit Shmulik
Itay Tiran: the tank commander Assi
Oshri Cohen: the gun loader Hertzel
Michael Moshonov: the driver Yigal
Zohar Strauss: platoon commnder Major Jamil
Dudu Tassi: a Syrian POW

This film is not for everyone: during the screening I attended at least four couples could take no more so they left. The horror of the First Lebanon War as seen through through a periscope gun sight of a tank heading into Lebanon is unsettling.

Sound design makes it all too real what with the roar of the engine, the clanking of the treads, the metallic thunk of the tank’s turret as it comes to a stop. The tension at times is almost too much and for many there is a great sense of relief when the end credits finally appear.

for disturbing bloody war violence, language including sexual references and some nudity.

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