Tag Archives: 66th Venice International Film Festival

Movie Review: Lebanon (2009)

Lebanon poster

A view inside a tank from gun turret…. Faces hiding traces or disgraces…. Running car or a bridge too far… Silent house or screaming blouse…

An Israeli soldier without being reckless and haughty… his patience and sweat costing a huge amount of pulling the trigger to decide a fate of targeted person either innocent of fifty-cent, rebellion from a million, protester or protector, violent or benevolent, peacemaker or troublemaker…

Lebanon is an Israeli movie produced in 2009 by Samuel Maoz under the production banners from Israel, France and Germany. Most remarkable point of the movie is that it is anti-war movie which don’t appeal to tweet your pros and cons. Besides only 3 images, the whole movie is amazingly shot inside the tank. The outside view is all from gun turret. The entire film was shot in and around Tel Aviv.

Movie is based on 1982 Lebanon war which was fought between Israeli military forces and Yasser Arafat’s PLO (Palestine Liberal Organization), Bachir Gemayel’s LNRF (Lebanese National Resistance Front). This 3-year-war broke when Palestinian militant Abu Nadal’s organization (ANO) attempted assassination against Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov. In result, Israeli military, under heavy leadership of the-then Israeli premier Menachem Begin, the-then defence minister Ariel Sharon and Army-chief Rafael Eitan, invaded southern part of Lebanon. Director Samuel Maoz was himself a gunner in one of the first Israeli tanks which entered Lebanon in this war. This film is actually made on his experience.

It is an account of four Israeli soldiers fighting inside the tank; a driver, a loader, a gunner and a commander. Israeli air force has just bombed the place and now they have received the order from above – clean Lebanon and shoot to kill who are a threat. They were also green-signaled to use phosphorus grenade in the war to invade Lebanon. According to International Law or Treaty, use of phosphorus grenade or white phosphorus is forbidden in battles and wars.

Few more war participants enter the tank time by time e.g., dead Israeli soldier or Syrian war prisoner but the four are the main on whom the story revolves. Movie speaks the way they communicate/coordinate each other. As a matter of fact, this director’s masterpiece offers amazing body language of soldiers and multifaceted scenes. Much a hard work is done on the core casts, when it comes to complications of firing, shooting and even using hydraulic whine of gun turret. 

For a soldier from any nationality or faith, fighting a war inside the tank is never easy specially while using gun turret. The soldier who use the turret has never fired or used the turret and will face the consequences. The first shot fired will haunt the rest inside. The tank covers few critical sites where danger is alarming or suspicious are thought barning. Few scenes give you second thought or reluctantly check the scene again like troop of soldiers scanning the threat, firing in one shop but after a little pause, leaving a small kid on his feet.


‘Lebanon’ offers a bulk of sharp contrast on behaviors of soldiers towards the first hours of war and the way they take this fight to suffer depression and disagreeing verbal exchanges. It is a wonderful translation of psychological aspects of the soldiers. They are all amateur and young soldiers who are put on duty to receive and follow the orders in such a massive war.

‘Lebanon’ was an extreme luggage of critic’s necessity worldwide with most positive reviews. It was rated R for disturbing bloody war violence, language including sexual references, and some nudity. It won the Leone d’Oro at the 66th Venice International Film Festival becoming the first Israeli-produced film to have won that honor. A must watch drama with all war-iffic elements of film making. 

Ratings: 7/10

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