- Director:Samuel Maoz
- Cast:Reymond Amsalem, Ashraf Barhom, Oshri Cohen
- Release Date:December 02, 2010
- Running time:93 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.50
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Powerfully shot from within the tank, this unflinching war drama is unforgettable.
Based on the experiences of writer/director Samuel Maoz, a former Israeli soldier, this film begins at precisely 3:00am, June 6, 1982 - the first day of the First Lebanon War. Four virgin soldiers are inside an Israeli tank, ploughing into Lebanon. A small town has just been destroyed by an air raid, and the crew's mission is to go into the Lebanese village and "make sure nothing's left." But what should be a straightforward operation turns into a nightmare of confrontation and confusion.
In his first feature, Maoz takes a gamble. With the exception of the opening and closing scenes, the camera stays inside the tank. You do see the outside world, but only through the circular, cross-haired frame of the gunsight - exactly as Shmulik (Yoav Donat), the terrified, reluctant gunner sees it. Maoz' gamble pays off. The very way that Lebanon has been shot and lit is partly why it commands your attention. It's almost as if every frame could make a still photograph, but behind the compelling images is gritty substance and an unflinching anti-war message. If this had been a Hollywood film, heroics would have been the focus; if it were Australian, mateship. But here, an escalating tension within the tank forms Lebanon's foundation, and the quartet of young soldiers, none of whom are especially likeable, are convincingly portrayed.
Winner of the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, Lebanon sparked debate in Israel, proving that Maoz is a filmmaker unafraid of controversy. He captures the young soldiers' fear and desperation. He shows the futility of war. He moves you - especially during the moments when an Israeli soldier shows compassion for a young Lebanese mother standing in the ruins of her village. Her child is missing, presumed dead. It's a raw, remarkable moment within a raw, remarkable film.