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BEAUFORT tells the story of LIRAZ LIBERTI, the 22 year-old outpost commander, and his troops in the months before Israel pulled out of Lebanon. This is not a story of war, but of retreat. This is a story with no enemy, only an amorphous entity that drops bombs from the skies while terrified young soldiers must find a way to carry out their mission until their very last minutes on that mountaintop. As LIRAZ lays the explosives which would destroy that very same structure that his friends had died defending, he witnesses the collapse of all he's been taught as an officer, and his soldier's mental and physical disintegration. Written by
I'm not a fan of the war genre, but Beaufort plays out more as a psychological thriller, and I find it hard to fault. There was an amazing blend of naturalism, stylistic devices, humour, touching human drama and suspense - at one time I jumped in my seat like I never have before.
The camera movements and cinematography are excellent and reinforce a sense of claustrophobia as a group of Israeli soldiers keep guard at an historic fort within southern Lebanon, but are virtually under siege by Hezbollah forces. Character development is also excellent with much authenticity. The film focuses on the idiosyncrasies of various characters and how they interact with each other under the circumstances. Respect for the commanding officer is sometimes lacking, resulting in a lack of discipline and friction at a difficult time.
I count this film as one of my favourite films in the genre, kind of a cross between Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and Sam Mendes' Jarhead, and as good as either of these. Like these two films, there is an understated political critique in how young men are pawns in the games played by those who live comfortably away from the field of battle and death. Whether you like war films or not, this is must-see cinema.
I saw the film's screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
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