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Limited Vision: Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon”

Limited Vision: Samuel Maoz's "Lebanon"

Lebanon is the latest in the long line of films reliant on confined spaces and/or confined perspective gimmicks (The Lady in the Lake, Lifeboat, etc.). While on its very thin surface Samuel Maoz’s feature debut takes Israel’s ill-considered 1982 invasion of Lebanon as its subject, the film is more Rear Window than Platoon, and gives new meaning to the phrase “theater of war”: Maoz evokes combat largely through first-person point of view, emphasizing battle as something to be processed through perception. Since it takes place almost entirely inside a tank, what we see of the mostly urban battlefields of Lebanon (with Tel Aviv substituting for the title country) is relayed through a cross-haired turret sight that alternates between wide shot and telescoped close-up, a cinematic POV assumed by Shmulik (Yoav Donat), the tank’s jittery, hesitant gunman.

Click here to read the rest of Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of Lebanon.

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