This is a claustrophobic film set almost entirely in the confines of one tank during the 1982 Lebanon war, directly translated from the personal experiences of the writer and director Samuel Maoz.
This is a claustrophobic film set almost entirely in the confines of one tank during the 1982 Lebanon war, directly translated from the personal experiences of the writer and director Samuel Maoz. This makes or an instantly unusual looking film, with everything set in the dank half light, the only view from the outside coming through the gunsight. With such a narrow perspective both literally an figuratively, you might wonder how the film can sustain it’s running time.
It’s a personal response to the traumas and trials of wartime, with Maoz making no pretence to impartiality and as such is powerful and sometimes moving but the singular perspective can get wearing eventually, once the directors beliefs and feelings have been explained and experienced, it would be nice to have a different perspective to challenge the viewpoint. In fact the lack of such a secondary narrative is not in the film’s favour as theclaustrophobia of the tank becomes exhausting after a while. While this is no doubt the intention of the filmmakers, a secondary narrative would have lightened the pressure and could have opened up some interesting character possibilities, even if seen in flashbacks.
It’s an obviously anti war piece following a group of innocent young men and the brutality that they endure during their part of the conflict. Though the actors are all talented and believable, the characters they are playing are not necessarily so, bordering on the clichéd which does bring down the entire movie which is predicated on realism. To an extent this is due to the fact that the timescale of the film lasts for only a few hours to there is very little time to go into any detailed back-story for the characters. The dialogue is also somewhat contrived at times, which again detracts from the overall effect
Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic piece of filmmaking with the director of photography more than rising to the challenge of shooting and lighting such a confined space without the shots every becoming too repetitive, and then suddenly switching focus to the view of the outside world, in which are depicted some terrible, brutal and realistic scenes. At no point does Maoz hold back from showing the flagrant violations of international law and agreements from the Israeli people. It’s visceral and hard hitting, a vivid picture of the shattering experiences suffered by these young men. Hard to watch but worth seeing.
Awards: Venice Film Festival,Awards of the Israeli Film Academy,Camerimage,Thessaloniki Film Festival
Nominations: Awards of the Israeli Film Academy