Beaufort Castle is an ancient fortress in southern Lebanon that came under Israeli control at the start of the 1982 Lebanon War, and stayed that way until Israel abandoned it in 2000. The film Beaufort, an Oscar nominee in the foreign-language category, depicts the last few days of the occupation, entirely from the point of view of the final group of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers to be stationed there.

Any film about Israel is bound to be fraught with political powder kegs, more so if the Israeli military is the subject. On IMDb I see message board threads with titles like "A very dangerous propaganda movie" and "Is this pro or anti Israel?," and I realize the film is (to quote Stephen Sondheim) fraughter than I thought.

Evidently the matter of occupying Beaufort and southern Lebanon is a sore subject in Israel -- why, it reminds me of a certain other country where the citizens are divided on whether their military's presence in a foreign land is necessary. Beaufort is a fine war picture, one that spotlights war's wastefulness and futility, and humanizes its soldier characters. It doesn't make a statement on the rightness or wrongness of the Beaufort occupation, though it does comment on the absurdly drawn-out process of leaving it. And even if it did say the whole thing was a mistake to begin with, would that make it "anti-Israel"? No more so than being against the U.S. occupation of Iraq makes one "anti-American."
categories Reviews, Cinematical