Tue 11 Aug 2009
After having its world premiere at the Jerusalem Film Festival, where it won a special mention from the jury, Israeli war film “Lebanon” will start its world tour this fall. Samuel Maoz’s film - based on his personal experience as a tank driver in the 1982 Lebanon war - will have its international premiere in the official competition at the Venice film festival. It’s the first Israeli film at the Venice film fest since Amos Gitai’s 2003 “Alila” (coincidentally, the last Israeli film competing in Venice before that was Eran Riklis’ “Cup Final” in 1992, which also recreated the 1982 Lebanon war).
After Venice “Lebanon” will screen in the US, first in Telluride before getting its official North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and then at the New York Film Festival (which, by the way, is the exact same North American festival route “Waltz With Bashir” did last year).
No US distribution is set yet.
“Lebanon”, a visually striking film set entirely within one tank in the first few hours of the war, is nominated for Best Picture at the upcoming Ophir Awards, handed out by the Israeli Motion Picture and Television Academy. The winner will represent Israel at the Oscars. “Lebanon” faces a stiff competition from crime-drama “Ajami” (which played Cannes) and popular light-comedy “A Matter of Size”.
Should “Lebanon” win, it will be the 3rd consecutive movie, in as many years, dealing with the first Lebanon war to represent Israel at the Oscars. The previous two, 2007’s “Beaufort” and 2008’s “Waltz With Bashir”, were nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar (but lost).