tcc: beaufort

January 18, 2009

having been going through some classic war films for the past month and a half, it was interesting to see a modern take on the genre.  and while beaufort is technically a film about war, it seems to me to be much more psychological (in the way i always assumed jacob’s ladder to be, though i’ve never seen it).

the film centers around soldiers holding onto the fortress of beaufort in southern lebanon, and their impending orders to retreat.  the commanding officer, liraz librati (played by oshri cohen), is continually tortured by the sight of his fellow soldiers dying from the numerous aerial assaults a day.  many of the characters see their deaths as pointless, and their continued service in a loosing war as a waste of time.

i don’t know anything about the history of south lebanon conflict, but the film seemed very heavy handed.  every character in the film had something to say about why the war was meaningless, and why they shouldn’t be there, and why they should never have gone in in the first place.  that’s not to say that i agree with disagree with their take, it’s just that as a non-partisan (and non-native) viewer i could easily see the filmmaker trying to push at some agenda.

the film is very tense.  the score is a very eerie collection of ambient tones and voices, and the constant background of mortars dropping and things exploding.  the first 30 minutes are really the best parts of the film.  it’s when newly deployed bomb squad solider ziv faran (played by ohad knoller) shows up to the outpost and familiarizes himself with the campus.  his walking about the mountain, and conversing with the soldiers, trying to find his bearings and learn about the outpost are the best parts of the film.  they are filled with dread and very high levels of suspense.

the main reason i had to check this out was because of it’s academy award nomination (not that i follow those fools blindly).  suffice it to say it think that 2006’s pool of nominated films (after the wedding, pan’s labyrinth, and the lives of others) vastly out rank those of last years.  but who knows, maybe they’ll get it right this year.


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