Movie Review - Censored Voices - What Does That Soldier At The Front Really Feel?



Israel At the 6-Day-War ; Censored Voices - Courtesy of Music Box Film


June, 1967.  Tension filled the Middle Eastern air.  


There had been a strained peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors for years, but now, suddenly, the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan massed on the narrow borders to the Jewish state.   Despite the rhetoric that had gone through various American Presidents, State Departments, and kings…the Arabs still avowed it would destroy Israel.  


As the members of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) were summoned, each soldier - male and female - felt the adrenaline of the brave along with the fear, trepidation and knowledge that if they did not fight, their own existence as a state and as a people would be threatened.   

Censored Voices - Courtesy of Music Box Films

In a pre-emptive strike, now known as the Six Day War Israel surprised its enemies with a stunning victory that nearly tripled its size as they headed into the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula and retook the West Bank along with the holy city of Jerusalem, which for many years had been under the control of Jordan.  


There were tremendous losses on both sides, but a relieved Israel brimmed with pride, and joy. They had succeeded despite overwhelming odds. The heroic stories of the IDF increased the feeling of righteousness.  It has been a victory of the few against the many with the "Arab nations united in their effort to throw Israel into the sea."


But those soldiers coming back had to deal with Post Traumatic Stress and their thoughts, which were recorded a week after their return from the front were censored by the government.  


Amos Oz, Israeli writer, Censored Voices - Courtesy of Music Box Film

Weeks and months after the conflict many of the returning front liners met with Israeli author Amos Oz and editor Avraham Shapira.   Led by the author, they spoke of their intense fears, their feelings about the enemy, of what they felt they had to do to protect themselves, and their doubts as to how the Arabs had been dealt with.  What is the responsibility of the conquering to the conquered?


 Several felt angry at their own actions and yet understood that had the situation been reversed, there was little doubt the enemy would have no compassion for them. 


IDF boys at the front line; Censored Voices - Courtesy of Music Box Film


Their information became the basis for the book, The Seventh Day: Soldiers' Talk About the Six-Day War.  Published in 1970, these newly available recordings from the core of a probing film and the voices are juxtaposition with rare newsreel footage of the events.  From this we re-experience a war that still locks the region in a deadly impasse. 


Hidden for 45 years, these recordings - a piece of history - now reappear showing the human side of the war and what "we have become since then."  As soldiers, they gave their lives to their country; as people, they have changed as they examined the morals and consciousness that drove them at the time and wonder now what is the best way to handle the current situation. 


The movie, CENSORED VOICES, from Music Box Films, directed by Mor Loushy, written by Mor Loushy, Daniel Sivan, and Ran Tal was produced by Daniel Sivan, Hilla Medalia and Neta Zwebner.  The original score was done by Markus Aust and Itai Raziel and Avner Shafaf did photography.


The director hopes that the film, itself, will open a dialogue to encourage peace.    


Victory Celebration; Censored Voices - Courtesy of Music Box Film

Winner of the Ophir Awards (Israel's equivalent of the Academy Awards for best documentary) as well as an official selection for Sundance, Berlin, London and Hot Docs film festivals, the show premiered in Los Angeles, New York and other major cities and is now in Washington, D.C. among other places.  Check your local listings. 


The film might upset some, and might hearten others.  We have to remember the soldiers - from both sides - are all human.  

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