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War drama based on Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's personal experiences in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Weinraub (Liron Levo) and Ruso (Tomer Russo) are two young Israeli reserve soldiers who suddenly find themselves at war after Egypt and Syria launch attacks on Sinai and the Golan Heights. Enlisted into a helicopter search and rescue team, their job is to bring wounded soldiers back from the frontline for medical treatment. What begins as a rite of passage unfolds into a surreal and tortured nightmare as the men come face to face with the horror and irrationality of war.
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Even for non Hebrew speakers, it would be a great film.
The film is an autobiographical account of two Israeli reservists experiences of the 1973 war when Israel's borders were attacked by Syrian and Egyptian forces during the holiday of Yom Kippur.Upon hearing the klaxon of war sounding the two protagonists(Ruso and Weinraub)race to get to the front line in an attempt to find their unit.When they reach the front they are met with utter confusion and are turned back.There seems to be a breakdown in the chain of command with units spread all over the place.Grabbing some gear from a nearby depot they move on alone in a bid to catch up with their unit.Along the way they pick up a Doctor who is desperate to get to a nearby town where he is urgently needed and so the two decide to escort him there and where they join the Doctor in becoming part of a helicopter evacuation unit.
With this depleted unit they are assigned to fly to the rear of the battlefield to evacuate the wounded and its here where for me the film succeeds in giving us a glimpse of what it must have really been like.The battlefield is a quagmire of blood,filth and body parts.The director shows us a scene of five minutes long without any dialogue(there is very little dialogue in this film on the whole) showing this unit trying desperately to extricate a wounded soldier from the mud.Other reviewers found this "boring" but to me it displays a maturity in the directing showing us the difficulties which would occur and the real time this effort would take.Hollywood would have shot this with multiple angles and would probably all be over in a matter of seconds.
The visuals on display are stunning and the camera work is first rate so where the film is devoid of any dialogue you can be carried along by the spectacle played out in front of you.There is a great overhead shot where the land is ravaged by tank tracks which gives you an insight to the scale of events.
For a film of nearly two hours where at times not a lot happens I never found myself bored and the film was over quicker than I imagined.The long silences in the film gave my senses time to take in the long panoramic shots of devastation and the difficulty the men faced in such conditions.
A film I am glad I watched and to be honest if you found this film boring then I really think you missed the point.
The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles which are easy to read and seem to translate well.No dubbed version and no extras at all on the disc.
(1) it was repetitive, which I guess was necessary given the nature of the heroes' work. I confess there were times my interest waned.
(2) much of it took place in such darkness that I had difficulty seeing what was going on and telling one character from another (we were only really introduced to three of them) and worst of all
(3) the ridiculous sex scenes at the beginning and end. The first one seemed to go on for ever. Apparently Weinraub could only get it up if he smothered his girlfriend and himself in paint. Was this the director's personal obsession or was he trying to make some wider point about Israel? Either way I could have done without those scenes, which somewhat detracted from the film's seriousness.
I still cant work out why this film was made.
as a little slackness or lack of concentration almost lead to the annihilation of Israel by Syria at the Holy time of Yom Kippur. Although Israel recovered, it served to prove that intelligence about an enemy can never be taken lightly.
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