The biggest buzz yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival belonged to an Israeli film—and not, as it happens, one of the movies featured in the much-protested spotlight on Tel Aviv cinema, but to Lebanon, a movie by Samuel Maoz that won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday. The film, which follows the plight of four young Israeli soldiers trapped in an IDF tank behind enemy lines during first Lebanon war, in 1982, is an autobiographical piece that revisits the fog of war, and the lasting psychological effects of combat—“The Hurt Locker meets Waltz with Bashir,” as Hollywood Reporter writer Steven Zeitchik put it.
So, while the City to City sidebar went ahead quietly, with a screening of Danny Lerner’s film Kirot—the story of a Russian sex worker in Tel Aviv, played by, of all people, Olga Kurylenko, better known as the most recent Bond Girl—critics were apparently stampeding to make it into an afternoon screening of Lebanon, which has now rocketed to the top of the acquisitions wish-list for anyone hoping to repeat, or perhaps even improve on, Bashir’s Oscar showing. Poetic justice, irony, or both? While we wait to hear what Naomi Klein thinks, feel free to watch the Lebanon trailer (in Hebrew—though, as Matt Goldberg notes on the film blog Collider, it’s perfectly clear what’s going on even if you’ve disappointed your ancestors terribly by forgetting everything you ever learned in Hebrew school):
‘Lebanon’ and ‘Single Man’ are Suddenly Hot in Toronto [Risky Business Blog]
War and Drugs in the Cross Hairs [NYT]
Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.