An Israeli soldier describes his participation in covert revenge operations against Palestinians.

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An Israeli soldier describes his participation in covert revenge operations against Palestinians.

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2008 (Israel)  »

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What the...?
21 March 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

A documentary about terrorists, where the criminals themselves confess their sins on camera, with their faces blurred so that no one can recognize them. As an idea, it's actually pretty interesting. But that's all it should have remained: an idea. The finished product, Z32, is confusing, nonsensical and, most of the time, plain boring.

The director, Avi Mograbi, structures the film like this: on one level we have the Israeli terrorist who, encouraged by his girlfriend, tapes a confession where he expresses his regret for killing two Palestinian police officers during a reprisal operation. The girlfriend testifies on camera too, on the condition that her face be unrecognizable. On the other level, we have a series of Lynchian musical interludes, staged by Mograbi himself, which have no connection whatsoever to what's being told and seem to have been inserted simply to extend the running time. There are also additional scenes where the terrorist visits the crime scene with a friend, providing further insight.

Artistically speaking, the director might even have had an interesting point to make with this new, unprecedented approach to the subject of terrorism. Unfortunately, the utter pointlessness of what is said (the "confession" quickly turns into stream-of-consciousness nonsense) and the inexplicable interludes do nothing but alienate the audience: whereas Lynch, who pioneered this kind of scenes with Twin Peaks and brought them to extreme levels in INLAND EMPIRE, uses the surreal digressions as an organic part of the narrative (whatever that may be), Mograbi is unable to make us understand why his hybrid of Munich and The Blair Witch Project has to feature a string of gratuitous, artsy intermissions. It's as if two different, completely incompatible films met at a crossroads and merged without thinking about the consequences.

Granted, this isn't the worst film ever made (those tend to be fully devoid of ideas), but its attempt to bring a new perspective on a done-to-death subject ends up being its downfall. In other words, it's too blatantly weird for its own good.


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