Friday, 13 August 2010

'The Man is Steel, The Tank is Only Iron'

Dir. Samuel Maoz
(2009 Metro Communications)

Samuel Maoz's personal account of his experience as an Israeli soldier during the 1982 Lebonan War. The film is confined to the interior of a tank as we follow four soldiers who eat, sleep and breath the conflict. The outside world is only viewed through the viewfinder of the tank – combined with the sounds of the hydraulic movement – it's uncomfortable. The enemy, either Syrian or Muslim Lebanese are horribly characterised – screaming inexplicably – always disillusioned. Maoz's argument is this film is his story and therefore the Lebanese are going to be portrayed in a certain light – so perhaps his contrived account of the Lebanese works.

The film comes with a beautifully minimalist soundtrack – bass beats. The story really isn't about the Lebanon War – it's an allegory for war – Vietnam – Iraq – the experiences of warfare don't change - just the landscape. Maoz's film is not a generic piece but rather an epithet of the horrors of a soldier in modern warfare.

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