When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience and Hope tells the true stories of young Israeli soldiers whose injuries leave them fighting for the strength to live. Making breakthroughs and finding meaning by reaching out to those in need, they discover that what didn't kill them really did make them stronger. The film shares the accounts of Gil, Ofer, and Elad - young war veterans whose unthinkable battle experiences leave them with life-altering mental and physical scars. Returning to society, their trauma disconnects them from all they once valued, turning their lives upside down. When all seems lost, a revolutionary idea gives them the hope, courage, tools and community to survive, and to embrace their identities as heroes both on and off the battlefield. Banding together in a family of wounded soldiers, they learn to face their obstacles together and discover that in conquering their pain, they might have more to offer than ever before. When the Smoke Clears follows ...Written by
"When The Smoke Clears" (2017 documentary from Israel; 80 min.) is a documentary about 3 guys who got severally injured while serving in the Israeli military, and what happened after that. As the movie opens, we immediately get to know thse three guys: Gil, who served in the elite "Duvdevan" counter-terror unit; Ofer, who served as a medic for the paratroopers; and Elad, who was a sergeant. They address their respective backgrounds, and then they recount what happened to them... At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary.
Couple of comments: this is the latest from documentary director Rebecca Shore. Here she looks at the high (but necessary) cost of what military service is like in a country where everyone, male or female, has a mandatory 3 year military service, and afterwards is in the reserves until age 40. When Ofer talks his service during "a tsunami of suicide bombers" (during the Second Intifada), it raises the hairs on your body. The use of combat footage adds to the tension level of the documentary. But the documentary also clearly demonstrates an issue that is also vastly under-appreciated in the US, namely how serving in these high-stress environments leads to PTSD, and, worse, the lack of support by the public at large and resources provided by society in general. Which of course is where these three guys come in... just watch! You will be amazed.
I recently saw this at the 2019 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati, which is now in its 30th year. I have been going for years, and the planning committee typically does a great job putting together a slate of interesting and thought-provoking movies. "When the Smoke Clears" is certainly that, and more. If you have a chance to see it, do not miss it!
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