John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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A fascinating political allegory
Part satirical allegory, part surrealist indictment, Foxtrot finds writer/director Samuel Maoz working with similar themes as he did in Lebanon (2009), especially the ridiculous nature of war and the meaninglessness of giving one's life in the service of one's country. However, whereas Lebanon was set entirely in a Centurion tank, Foxtrot expands Moaz's thematic concerns to take in the grief and anguish of those who have lost children to military service. Much like Lebanon, Foxtrot is an intensely political film, and much like Lebanon, it has met with controversy in Israel, where it has been accused of slandering the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). As aesthetically impressive as it is politically divisive, the film is a savage condemnation of both a national psyche and a military mindset that trades on the most binary of them-versus-us dichotomies.
Divided into three distinct sections, the film tells the story of Michael Feldman (a superb Lior Ashkenazi), who learns that his son Jonathan, a conscript in the IDF, has been killed "in the line of duty", only to learn several hours later that a mistake had been made and Jonathan is alive and well. The film then jumps several days back to a forlorn desert checkpoint on Israel's northern border (codename Foxtrot) manned by a group of wet-behind-the-ears soldiers, including Jonathan (Yonaton Shiray). The most action the group see is raising the barrier to let a camel amble through and checking the IDs of the few Palestinians who pass by. Without spoiling anything, the third section, which is kind of an extended coda, then returns to the Feldman apartment six months after the opening scenes.
In Foxtrot, Maoz uses allegory to deconstruct Israeli national myths. Interrogating what he sees as a culture of denial born from a reluctance to deal with the morality and sustainability of being an occupying force, the film gets a lot of mileage out of the metaphor of the foxtrot - a dance where no matter where you go, if you follow the steps correctly, you end up back at the starting point. Maoz is suggesting that without taking great care, countries will repeat the errors of the past, ending up exactly where they once were. Speaking to the Globe and Mail, Maoz explains, "Foxtrot deals with the open wound or bleeding soul of Israeli society. We dance the foxtrot; each generation tries to dance it differently but we all end up at the same starting point."
In a more concrete sense, in a scene at Foxtrot, the film examines the casual sadism and unspoken racism that can arise from serving in the armed forces of a country perpetually at war. Making a Palestinian couple stand in the pouring rain whilst their antiquated computer checks the couple's IDs, the soldiers don't care that they couple are dressed for a formal night, or that by the time they are cleared, their clothes are destroyed, as is her hair, and makeup. The scene is brilliantly staged, agonisingly realistic, and takes place in real-time, with Maoz concentrating on the couple looking at one another across the roof of the car, conveying agonised helplessness, compromised innocence, and, most saliently, abject humiliation. It's a masterclass in dialogue-free storytelling, and deeply political storytelling at that.
Aesthetically, Maoz shoots each of the three sections differently; the first is restrictive, trapping us in the confined headspace of the Feldmans, with the intense emotionality constantly threatening to boil over; the vast wide-open vistas of the second part contrast sharply with the confinement of the first, with the entire section threaded through with surrealism; the third section is darker than the others (in a literal sense), with a stark visual design that emphasises only those elements that are important to the scene. The Feldman apartment itself is extremely angular, and although it's very spacious, cinematographer Giora Bejach shoots it in such a way as to appear oppressively box-like.
Foxtrot won't be for everyone. Some will take issue with the pacing (which, it has to be said, is extremely languid), some with the allegorical nature of the story, some with the film's politics. For everyone else, however, this is a brilliantly realised tragedy, dealing with the randomness of pain and loss in a country refusing to recognise its past. Critiquing the xenophobic mindset that has crept into the Israeli zeitgeist, Maoz has been accused of making an "anti-Israel narrative." On the contrary, he is pleading with his country to change its ways, or it will repeat the errors of history. This is the act of a man who loves his country deeply, but who can see its flaws.
stunning film about grief and tragic loss and the futility of it all.
Great movie about life, what can take it away, and, suprisingly the boredom that can be crushing to the soul. Fit for the whole family.
Very sad and serious and all subtitles.
Intenso drama con muy buenas actuaciones, pero que en su segunda parte va decayendo.
somewhat entertaining, but incredibly unrealistic - far from actuality. This is more like political activism than drama
FOXTROT is a movie I wish more of the world could see. The Right Wing Cultural Minister of Israel needs to chill out. This could be set in any country of the world and represents a surrealist look at a terrible event. The director and actor do not deserve death threats, they deserve piles of awards and praise at a film that perfectly delivers a themed look into grief, tragedy, war and family.
FULL REVIEW IS NOW UP ON SALTY POPCORN
We have seen films about grief before; the basic subject matter is nothing new. In fact, the ideas of military allegiance and its affects on family left behind are starting to feel rather familiar. Many viewers, including myself, fear a film that will waste its time on worn out ideas. Make no mistake: Foxtrot is not a worn out film.
Foxtrot follows a family, mainly a husband and wife, in Israel who have just received news of their son's death in military conflict. Neither parent can handle the news as the mother passes out and the father emotionally implodes. Military personnel are accommodating and professional but, most importantly, cold and distant. No one can blame them since they are simply doing their jobs and do not relate to the hopelessness that their former coworker's family is now experiencing. From there the story further unravels, and we learn about the cause-and-effect nature of life's events and how simple choices can both create beauty and also destroy everything that a person has in life. Through such events, the film does not offer much judgment but rather lets the characters' lives play their course.
The marvel of Foxtrot is partially in its creative shots and unpredictable story, as well as its moments of unexpected hilarity, but, most importantly, in the unspoken dialogue between characters. Many films feel the need to fill space with dialogue, which can unfortunately clutter the soundscape and cause the audience to drift further and further away from the characters to whom they are supposed to relate. Foxtrot takes a much more simple approach and allows the viewer to see the characters for who they are without having to be told every detail. We learn more from the characters' expressions and physical emotions than we could ever learn from a scripted conversation. That is not to say that the dialogue in Foxtrot is unimportant; on the contrary, the dialogue only carries weight because it is used so delicately. The film can be both loud and quiet, often in juxtaposing scenes, and each dynamic complements the other more and more as the story engulfs the viewer.
This film is incomplete until the final scene, which made me realize that I have not seen such a sophisticated jigsaw puzzle of a film in some time. Too many films finish in the second act and simply meander on screen for a completely unnecessary finale. Foxtrot spends each minute sparingly, though this fact may not be apparent to the audience until the conclusion. All of the emotions, decisions, and questions fit together in a gloriously small yet powerful finale, but only those patient enough to let Foxtrot work its magic will earn one of the most rewarding film experiences of 2018 so far.
Great film ty https://www.filmindirtr.com/
Foxtrot is an Israeli movie that begins as an analysis of grief and evolves into something much more. The opening scene shows Israeli soldiers informing a couple that their son has been killed in the line of duty. The film then begins to analyze the couples' reaction. This concept would be enough for most movies, but Foxtrot is not content to accept that a soldier's death is just a part of life. It yearns to discover the societal and familial causes that created this unnecessary tragedy.
I don't want to give too much away, so I'll keep this brief. The movie evolves into a fascinatingly complex think piece that is better to witness than to hear second-hand. Yes, it's a study of grief, but it's also a satirical thesis on the pointlessness of war. It's an analysis of how an individual's flaws echo through generations. It points a finger at the "shoot first, ask questions later" policies of the police. It questions the religious traditions that hold together the fabric of society.
All of these themes are studied in the context of the foxtrot - a dance that always ends in the same place that it began. The film comes to the beautifully depressing conclusion that none of these problems can be solved. Or at least that none of these problems have been solved, despite multiple generations living through them. No matter what we do, we always end up in the same place.