Le­banon,

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images -

his griz­zled chin up against Assi’s or Shmulik’s to read them the riot act, it is like Brett Favre chew­ing out a rookie in the hud­dle.

On his first visit, Jamil gives them their im­me­di­ate mis­sion, to roll through a Le­banese town that is said to be un­der con­trol, and on to a ho­tel called St. Tropez, where they will get a good break­fast. “It’ll be a cake­walk,” he tells them. He may be a griz­zled vet­eran, but he’s ob­vi­ously never seen a war movie. A cake­walk? Man, that’s just ask­ing for it.

Other in­trud­ers in­clude a Syr­ian pris­oner and an Is­raeli corpse. The corpse is on Shmulik’s con­science; it be­longs to a sol­dier who died be­cause of the young gun­ner’s fail­ure to fire on an ap­proach­ing car when or­dered to. Par­a­lyzed by his civil­ian con­science, Shmulik can’t pull the trig­ger, and the en­su­ing fire­fight out­side has lethal con­se­quences. The corpse is brought into the tank but not left there for the du­ra­tion; it’s hitched to a har­ness and hauled up by a heli­copter that we hear but never see. “An­gel com­ing up” is the terse phrase barked over the in­ter­com.

The only re­lief we get from the in­te­rior of the tank is the view through the gun­ner’s viewfinder, which pans across the car­nage and pauses to frame par­tic­u­lar hor­rors in the crosshairs of its scope. It’s a nec­es­sary de­vice, but one which comes to seem forced and un­re­al­is­tic af­ter a while.

As the mis­sion goes from bad to worse, the strain be­gins to show on the crew, and their per­son­al­i­ties emerge in sharper fo­cus. Hertzel is the wise guy, the bar­racks lawyer. The driver Yi­gal, who seems to be the youngest, asks Jamil if he can get a mes­sage

Hatch­ing a plan: Zo­har Strauss

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