Thursday, November 5, 2015

Censored Voices (2015) Other Israel Film Festival 2015

Mor Loushy's CENSORED VOICES is nominally about soldiers recalling what happened during the six day war but in fact it transcends the one event and speaks to all  soldiers and all wars and forces us to confront what really happened in the war and what the stories become after.

In the days after the 6 Day War Amos Oz and a friend took an old tape recorder and interviewed soldiers returning from the war. Their goal was not to record a heroic retelling of the war. In stead they wanted to know what the men felt before during and after the war.  What did you really see and feel. The hope was to publish it all as a book, but the Israeli censors removed 70% of the material because it was not about the glorious victory but about men in battle wrestling with what they saw and did.  Loushy's film takes the recordings and plays them back to the soldiers who told the stories and we get a look into what it was like on the front line.

An absolutely riveting film truly puts us into the front line with the soldiers in a way that few films ever have. Existing in a twilight world between showing us the events as they happen and being looked back  upon from a great distance when details may have been lost the recordings reveal manage to capture the facts of events with just enough distance to make the telling alive. The soldiers still haven't shielded themselves from the emotion of what happened and it makes it all more real.

For me this film transcends being just a really good documentary to become something greater. This is a film that in it's way speaks about all soldiers in all wars. I've read enough accounts of men in battle to know that what these men express is, in one way or another, what most men feel, they just never get to speak it this way- unguarded, unpuffed up and uncensored. Whe you read other accounts of  men in battle you get glimpses of it but I've never seen or heard it so openly expressed. And that's what I love about this film, in bringing to light the recordings we get a look at what the soldiers were really feeling. I don't know if this would have been possible with a war such a Vietnam or even one of the World Wars where men didn't just go home but were shuttled around  from base to base and had to travel thousands of miles to get home.

This is a must see film. This is a film that will help you not only understand the 6 Day War but even other wars as well. Simply put this is one of the most important films of this year.

CENSORED VOICES plays tonight and Saturday at the Othe Israel Film Festival. For tickets and more information go here. The film opens November 20th at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

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