War seen from a tank in Lebanon
by Camillo de Marco
The deafening clangour of the cannon rotating in search of a target, the gunsight lens that changes and turns into our eye staring at death and "enemies" like silent silhouettes to be shot down in the videogame of the night monitors: Lebanon [+see also:
film profile], one of the Venice Competition titles to have won the most acclaim from Italian and international critics, unfolds in the claustrophobic setting of an Israeli tank during the first Lebanon War of 1982.
Israeli director Samuel Maoz fought in that war, and the film is based on his memories. These are sensory, like the smell of flesh burned by phosphorous bombs, and psychological, like that of June 6 at 6.15 a.m., when the then 20-year-old soldier Maoz killed a man for the first time in his life.
Co-produced by France and Germany, the film centres on four tank drivers in their twenties who are on a mission in hostile territory. They end up in a lethal trap, from which it will prove difficult to escape.
Maoz said that in every war "you have to survive whilst facing your own death: your soul is torn between the survival instinct and morality". The director started work on the film after 20 years had passed, like in a psychoanalytic journey, in order to "achieve the right distance from events".
The sequence of scenes, the juxtaposition of hyper-realistic images and fleeting moments of surrealism are the fruit of a long and well thought-out process, with the aim of taking audiences "on a conscious journey".
France’s Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales. English company Metrodome, in partnership with Rialto Distribution, has already bought the rights for the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and plans to release the film in spring 2010.
(Translated from Italian)
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