Foxtrot: The Film Israel Doesn’t Want You to See

Someone should tell Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev that trying to get a film banned will only make people want to see it even more.

After sweeping a bunch of awards on the film festival circuit (including the Grand Jury Prize at Venice), Foxtrot was denounced by Israel’s Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, referring to the film as “the result of self-flagellation and cooperation with the anti-Israel narrative”. She even went on to say that it was “outrageous that Israeli artists contribute to the incitement of the young generation against the most moral army in the world by spreading lies in the form of art”.

First of all, lol. Do you seriously think you’re going to get away with calling the Israeli armed forces the “most moral army in the world”, Regev? Should we take this to an audience vote? Phone a Palestinian friend? Anyway, after seeing Foxtrot, directed by Israeli director Samuel Maoz, I’m really glad Regev didn’t get her way. It’s a cinematically beautiful, conceptually devastating commentary on war and Israel’s conscription law, and of the futility of the senseless conflict in the area.

The film is divided into three parts. The first sees soldiers arrive at the home of Dafna and Michael Feldman, to deliver the gut-wrenching news that their son, Jonathan, has been killed in the line of duty. For the second part of the film, we’re taken deep into the desert, where four young Israeli soldiers are stationed on border patrol. For the most part, it’s a humorous take on the banality of their everyday existence, opening and closing a boom gate for a camel, rolling a can of beans across the floor and timing it, and playing violent video games.

But then part three arrives to knock you senseless. The humour is gone, and it’s replaced with a heavy sense of woe that stays with you long after the film ends. It’s a scathing take on a confusing, at times bewildering, and seemingly endless war. And it’s really worth watching, because this stuff is really happening. Foxtrot just makes it look a whole lot prettier than the real thing.

Foxtrot is screening in select cinemas across Australia now.

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