Some Lebanese critics are dismissing the Israeli film Lebanon, which won the award for best picture at the Venice Film Festival last week (and just got picked up by Sony), says Agence France-Presse. The film, based on director Samuel Maoz’s experience during Israel’s 1982 war with Lebanon, is shot from the perspective of four Israeli soldiers trapped in a tank in a bombed-out Lebanese city over the course of a harrowing 24 hours. Though early reviews in the United States have praised the film’s “no-frills power” (if not its psychological depth), some Lebanese critics say it presents a wildly unbalanced view of the war. “It depicts an operation of self-defense where the ‘Other’ does not exist, where the enemy is hidden, absent, treated as ‘terrorist,’” wrote a correspondent in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar. “The film falls, as expected, into the logic that transforms the executioner into a victim or a quasi-victim.” Another daily, al-Mustaqbal, agreed that “the film serves only to show the supposed humanity of the Zionist state, which wages war ‘against its will’ and ‘in pain.’” AFP explains that in the film, “Israeli soldiers confined to their tank do not see the horrors and massacres they leave in their wake: a woman on the verge of insanity after the death of her child, an elderly man consumed by hate, the agony of a gutted donkey, and more.”
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.