Lebanon War veteran Joseph Cedar (CAMPFIRE) directs a harrowing, often haunting account of Israel's 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon and the Beaufort ('Good Fort') mountain fortress. Built by Crusaders in the 12th century, the fort was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in 1982 at the start of the Lebanon War. Eighteen years later, increasing criticism at home and abroad has led to Israel's decision to withdraw completely from Lebanon. Charged with managing the fort's defence and its evacuation is 22-year-old commander Liraz Liberti (Oshri Cohen). Eager to lead but emotionally untested, Liraz must maintain his bare-bones troop's discipline between bouts of claustrophobic tedium and increasing harassment by Hezbollah mortar attacks. That tenuous balance threatens to unravel with the arrival of bomb-disposal specialist Ziv (Ohad Knoller), as well as an unexpectedly sophisticated Hezbollah strike that reveals the limits of Liraz's abilities.
Director Cedar and co-screenwriter Ron Leshem (on whose novel the film is based) eschew political statements and side-taking to instead examine the complexities of individuals bound by duty to a seemingly lost cause. Affectingly acted and directed, BEAUFORT--winner of the Silver Bear at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival--acknowledges the futility of war without ever surrendering its humanity or sense of hope. The film also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
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