Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #154 Lebanon

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Movie #154 Lebanon

(2009, Israel, d. Samuel Maoz)

I won’t say it’s the most, but Lebanon was probably one of the most intense 90 minute experiences I’ve had in the theater – and I’m not a war-movie kind of guy. Having won the Golden Lion in 2009 (the highest award granted to a competing film at the Venice International Film Festival), Lebanon is far superior to any of the recent “small-scale” war films, such as The Hurt Locker. The film opens to a wide shot of a sunflower field. We hold on this shot for awhile – actually to the point where we begin to wonder why are we are looking at this for so long. Then the title comes up and we are inside of an Israeli tank. It’s about 45 minutes later when we begin to realize that not a single shot or frame has taken place outside of the tank when we begin to understand the implications of the first shot. Coupled with the sense of claustrophobia (granted due to circumstances), we are forced to witness the behaviors and reactions of the four soldiers inside. Our view to the outside is through the perspective of the gunsight of the tank, and through this we are able to see the atrocities of the war outside. Directed by an Israeli, Lebanon offers a surprisingly fresh perspective of the conflict by portraying the Israelis as the doers of evil in the film. As the events around the tank become more and more threatening, the characters are forced to face each other and face themselves. Directed and photographed exceptionally, Lebanon rightfully deserves its place at the top of an quickly increasing list of war films.

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