Foxtrot is an Israeli award-winning war drama film featuring a family with a soldier in service at the center. It caused quite the stir when it made the minister of culture and sports, Miri Regev, to speak publically about her intention to cut funding from Israeli cinema as a whole. She said it because the film features a scene in which the soldiers are committing an unreported war crime. The movie’s star, Lior Ashkenazi, claimed that she needs to learn some Chekov and understand what an allegory is. Her words and possible actions against the small local industry, shunned for the first time any government official from the Israeli Opihr Awards, the Israeli equivalent to the Oscar.
In my opinion, it hard to blame the minister in her harsh words. The film does feature a strong allegory, claiming both the Israeli government and the Palestinian government are sending their children to die prematurely without a reason or logic behind it. In the checkpoint in which the son served, they encountered a vehicle which they thought had a grenade in it. They killed the Palestinians and buried the bodies in their car. When the son is released form his service due to a request from his father, he dies in a traffic accident, in a car.
Allegory or not, this is an extreme turn of events, especially when in the background there is the trail of a soldier that shot down a bound terrorist that tried to stab his squad-mates. That soldier was sentenced for jail time. It wasn’t covered up, and not in a way befitting a conscripted rebel force of an enraged warlord. People die for no reason in that conflict, and it scars the soldiers themselves and their families for life, but I bet there are better ways to show it. Rock Ba-Casbah by Yariv Horowicz featured flawed characters that have to operate from with a Palestinian city during the First Intifada and did it from a more pro-Israeli standpoint.
In Judaism, being buried in a box means that you died in pieces, or worse, that some are missing. Israel is as fragmented and as lacking as the screenwriter/director Samuel Maoz wished to present it. It is a great a film in terms of its classical structures and surreal occurrences, like the soldiers sleeping in a truck or the fact the holocaust-surviving grandmother only speaks in German. The movie’s success and constructing that allegory, in creating a hyperbolic reality of extremes, is a great work of art. But also, it is a terrible tool for propaganda which the government would have preferred not to support.