Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Beaufort" (Language - Hebrew) (2007) - Movie Review

From the films having the time to peruse the detailed intricacies of a war, one thing is the critical and the most essential part of that cruel process, waiting. That characteristic to listen to the crackled voice on a radio and a machine hitting its head like a screwed up drum toy of the destiny of the soldiers in a station seem to be the scariest, frustrating and agonizing procedure in serving the army. When the distant sounds of the mortars echoes into the far and vast mountains in the Beaufort, it is the fear and the growing up of these young kids becoming the story of this film. This Israeli film based upon the novel of same name by Ron Leshem narrates the final days of the IDF soldiers stationed out there before withdrawing.

In the last shot of the film, a soldier gets down from the artillery vehicle, strips out his one piece snow suit, the fleece and everything which has been guarding from cold and not the mortars, tells the tightened soul wrapped in layers for the war he just sat through. This film after “Jarhead” does the thing of being waited upon. Long before the media bathed itself in the information of these, bravery stood for being in the army and courage the second skin for the men. It was thought that gunning and fearlessly entering the territories of the enemies defined by the borders and politics defined those characteristics. The films and the media has shed light on the barren land of nothing but expecting the light to come through realigns these thoughts. But more than realigning is the realization of what meant as the courage and bravery begins to alleviate into the helplessness and the shattering of trust and belief on the cause.

A helicopter lands on a mountain when Liraz (Oshri Cohen) and another soldier gets a man from the machine amongst the raining mortars. They received an expert from bomb squad to clear the road for evacuation. He is Ziv (Ohad Knoller) and seeing the initial video of the device on the road, he says it is dangerous. Liraz a young kid says it is no news that it is dangerous and he does not need a man from the chopper to inform this. We see this arrogant kid with blood boiling for country when he yells this. We wonder why there is no wise commander interfering and softening the kid. Tell him that the bomb expert knows what he is talking. There is no one, because Liraz is the commander and the men under him are at average age of nineteen.

Through Ziv we see the coffin shaped tunnel passages in the bunker. In the wake of the night, Ziv is woken up by Liraz to investigate the road and a couple of minutes to stretch gets Ziv to be lost in this tunnel. He stops by the outpost called “Green”. The most sensitive zone in the station, that is the one which has been guarded by some how or other by the Israelis since 1982 when they captured the fort. Now it is a sitting duck position to be hit by the Hezbollah. The next day morning Ziv ventures upon the device and that event begins the humanization of the tough Liraz to visit what and who he is doing in this middle of bomb storms.

In the closed space of bunker, Liraz is a walking iron. Making sure he stands still and make his powerful brown eyes to get the things done by his soldiers. There is the inner war in him being dejected by the inertness of the government to stay put watching the enemies shell out the fear in the crew while at the same time sees his duty and his ideology of being patriotic stopping him to do the criticism. But one by one he sees his soldiers behind getting killed not in a mission or fight but in the act of guarding. Guarding knowing that the attacks are imminent and the government has folded hands watching it go down.

This film which sees the war and the place of history made of stone related by the claim made by people some years ago with a sad face. Thousand of years before the mistakes committed have been redone without a clear order allegedly said in the film. Now after eighteen years losing soldiers, this place has a final say in the minds of a rigid leader. While Liraz is the man been tested of his emotions in an environment which does not allow goes around hiding it, there is Koris (Itay Tiran) the medic advocating the pragmatism of the predicament they are in. No one gives a damn about their well being and they need to get the hell out of here. But more than the attachment to the duty, it is the automatic entitlement to safe guard his command and station coming in front of Liraz.

Written and Directed by Joseph Cedar, “Beaufort” has the photography by Ofer Inov to heights of precision in letting the ray of light pass through the gaps of the concrete blocks. Not phony but clearly a touch of gold in to the art of making. The music Yishai Adar constantly runs a buzz of the fragile situation of the place these people reside in. And in the soft and moving lyrics of musical soldier Shpitzer (Arthur Perzev) is the defining time the film moves us into tears on the loss these men witness in the immobility of their actions. “Beaufort” is said to be a war film and it indeed is with the back ground. But more than that is the process of hard men learning the fragility of their life given up so easily in the long and narrow tables of borders, orders and ideologies.

No comments: