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(2008) *** 1/2 Unrated
127 min. Kino International. Director: Joseph Cedar. Cast: Oshri Cohen, Itay Tiran, Eli Eltonyo, Ohad Knoller, Itay Turgeman.
One of this year's five Oscar-nominated foreign films, the Israeli entry Beaufort essays the last days of the 12th Century Beaufort Castle, a mountain stronghold in Southern Lebanon. Once held by the PLO, the base was held by the Israeli army from 1982 to 2000, when the film is set. With a strategic pullout imminent, the troops begin to see the light creeping into their labyrinthine bunker, just enough for existential despair over the pointlessness of their continued presence. As adapted from Ron Leshem's novel by director Joseph Cedar and Leshem himself, Beaufort is a serious-minded examination of the soldier's mindset and the pull of territory in the Israeli collective consciousness. Cedar manages a convincing verisimilitude while dramatically summarizing the history, legacy, and significance of Beaufort and war's ever-present threat to sanity and survival.
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