Samuel Maoz’s intense retelling of his own experiences in the first days of the 1982 Lebanon war may have spawned a ridiculously inaccurate DVD cover (to the left),  but the original movie poster, which I’ve included at the foot of this review, is a far more poetic and evocative image and indicates the brutal simplicity of the film.

The film Lebanon is, as Em stated in her excellent review of the film, a confession and twenty five years between the events and the script being written have in no way blunted the emotional barbs of the experience of seeing the outbreak of war through the sight of the tank’s gun and the claustrophobic nature of the film is emotionally draining a journey’s end.

We spoke to Maoz when the film was released into cinemas in the UK and the story he tells is harrowing, deeply felt and not over by any means. When he speaks of split seconds whose consequences live with you for the rest of your life he is not exaggerating. It was clear that, however confessional is may be, Maoz wanted this film to do two things: give a true, bleak and unremitting experience of modern warfare and offer no personal catharsis, if he held his breath when the first person died at his hand all those years ago then he has not exhaled yet.

The commentary on the DVD by Maoz is hypnotic and is as much as personal perspective on the actual events as it is about the making of the film and the details and is worth the price of the DVD on its own. The images are brutal and the descent into the madness of war is given eloquent voice by the director who gives no quarter and offers no answers, and the film is all the more powerful for it.

Lebanon is released on DVD today.