Beaufort Joseph Cedar

Beaufort Joseph Cedar
Far more concerned with the philosophical and internal aspects of war — mainly those of futility and nobility — rather than the guts-and-glory bloodletting tactics that are usually deployed, Beaufort communicates its points maturely and effectively, even if it offers no solutions to its questions and occasionally resorts to didactic exposition. There is nothing particularly new or fanciful here but a world of isolation and inner-conflict exists convincingly, giving the viewer a sense of connection and a reason for rumination.

Beaufort takes place in the year 2000, just days before the IDF withdrew from the Israeli Security Zone in Southern Lebanon, ostensibly ending the 18-year South Lebanon Conflict. Led by Liraz (Oshri Cohen), a group of soldiers man the Beaufort stronghold as relentless attacks come from the Lebanese army. After the seemingly futile passing of Ziv (Ohad Knoller), Liraz, Balis (Gal Friedman) and others start to show signs of fraying around the edges as they reflect on their true purpose in this war.

Ironically, or not, this film about the end of the South Lebanon Conflict wrapped production just weeks prior to the eruption of the second war in Lebanon.

While occasionally trying and deliberately slow, the most effective moments are those where characters are left to reflect on their current state. When things kick up into conversational mode, the film becomes a little contrived, especially when an awkwardly staged television interview with a deceased soldier’s father comes about to further expand on living-in-vain to anyone who hadn’t already caught on.

A stark composition and minimalist score drive home ponderous intentions, thankfully keeping unnecessary melodrama at bay. Lingering visions of the landscape and empty compound tunnels are often powerful and affecting regardless of the many structural hiccups. Patient viewers will be mostly satisfied with the eventual payoff and the dichotomy it creates. (Maximum)