War drama is a claustrophobic look at combat. 


They say all politics is local, and the same can be said of war. The film Lebanon, set during the 1982 Lebanon war, adopts this ground-up perspective of combat. In the film, it doesn't matter how the war started, whose cause is just, or what the strategies are for victory. All that matters is one crew of soldiers in one tank during one day of battle.

Lebanon is structured like a one-set play. All of the action takes place inside an Israeli tank as it ventures into foreign territory. The crew (played by Yoav Donat, Itay Tiran, Oshri Cohen, and Michael Moshonov) carries the film not with action but reactions to stressful external events: a devolution of emotional states and fractured camaraderie.

A gun sight keeps the audience apprised of what's happening outside (or, in other ways, emphasizes the confusion of battle). As the gunman Shmulik (Donat) peers out, the film becomes something of a travelogue, with vignettes chronicling the hell of war.

Lebanon trades in some of the most time-tested universals of war (and war films): kids suddenly making life-and-death decisions, mistakes with irrevocable consequences, soldiers sharing stories of home, terror, boredom, civilians' lives destroyed.

But the film is also unique to its setting: the claustrophobia and squalid mess of the tank interior — its urine-puddled floor; fallen soldiers (called "angels") inside the tank and captured Syrian combatants ("crickets"); the Christian Arab allies ("Philangists") who have their own objectives — complicating the chain of command and ramping up the anxiety for the tank crew, who just want to get back home in one piece.

The film is written and directed by Samuel Maoz, who himself served in an Israeli tank during the war and used those experiences to make Lebanon.

Lebanon won the Golden Lion (best film) at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.

The animated Waltz With Bashir got lots of attention recently and is about the same conflict from an Israeli perspective. Lebanon deserves similar notice.

Opening Friday, October 1st

Ridgeway Four

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.



Lebanon (Levanone)
Rated R · 94 min. · 2010
Official Site: www.ctvint.fr/pages/fiche.asp?id=3586
Director: Maoz Shmulik and Samuel Maoz
Writer: Maoz Shmulik
Producer: Anat Bikel, Leon Edery and Moshe Edery
Cast: Oshri Cohen, Michael Moshonov, Zohar Strauss, Reymond Amsalem, Itay Tiran, Yoav Donat and Dudua Tasas

Now Playing

Lebanon (Levanone) is not showing in any theaters in the area.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Bohemian Rhapsody

      The Glossy Biopic Can’t Live Up To Freddy Mercury’s Legend
    • The Old Man And The Gun

      Robert Redford retires at the top of his game
    • First Man

      Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in this flawed biopic


Tiger Blue

#22 LSU 85, Tigers 76

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

This Week At The Cinema: Indie Memphis Winners and BTS

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies Lose First Home Game to Utah Jazz 96 - 88

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Kohinoorgasm

From My Seat

Goose Bumps Galore

Hungry Memphis

Old Venice to Morph into Venice Kitchen

Politics Beat Blog

Hundreds Rally to Save Mueller Inquiry

News Blog

LeMoyne-Owen receives donation at its gala

Politics Beat Blog

Rally to Safeguard Mueller Investigation


More by Greg Akers

Readers also liked…

  • Death Grip

    Memphis filmmaker Sam Bahre talks about his 11-year struggle to create I Filmed Your Death.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • The Lost City of Z

    A mesmerizing story of obsession in the Amazon jungle
    • May 1, 2017
  • Ready Player One

    Spielberg mines the past and present in this virtual adventure
    • Apr 6, 2018
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation