Hot Docs 2015: Censored Voices Review

World Showcase

Following on the heels of the 1967 six-day war, which was a dramatic military victory for Israel along with the capture of nearly triple the landmass of the nation, a group of young filmmakers recorded the voices of soldiers returning from the front. Uncovered after nearly five decades, these raw, revealing recollections tell of young victors still merely decades away from the horrors of Europe that brought many of them to the middle-East, finding echoes both good and ill with their new role as both occupier and armed victor.

Director Mor Loushy has reassembled many of those voices on the tapes to listen to their recollections. Visually, it’s at first a powerful thing, witnessing these old men hear the words of their youth. When the film is at its best there’s a conversation of sorts between young and old selves, finding whether the politics has shifted with time. As fascinating as this discourse is, the film itself unfortunately feels both repetitive and uneven, its tendency to linger on those listening neither cinematically compelling or narratively interesting.

The story itself is so remarkable that the film’s stumbles are felt even more acutely. There’s much to admire about the material collected here, it’s simply unfortunate that it doesn’t coalesce into something that more deeply explores the contradictions and ambivalency expressed by these soldiers both soon after battle and following the passage of time.