Nominated for an Oscar in the 2007 best foreign film category, the Israeli Beaufort follows the story of Israeli armed forces and their evacuation, in 2000, of a 12th century fort in Lebanon. Ironically, the fort—for which the film is named—was first captured from the Lebanese by Israel in 1982, during a fierce battle in which many people from both sides died. One might, therefore, ask what was the point of all those deaths in the first place—and essentially, that's the question posed by the film.
The fort's 22-year-old commander, Liraz Librati, is brought to vivid life by actor Oshri Cohen, who gives a standout, what-are-we-fighting-for performance—conveying a desperate air of macho impetuosity, albeit with an air of deep fraternal feeling that raises his portrayal of a conflicted soldier above, for example, Tom Hanks' grimacing joke of a captain in Saving Private Ryan. Through Cohen and his fellow actors, director Joseph Cedar does a worthy, heartrending job of convincing even the most gung-ho viewer of what a pissing contest between schoolboys wars such as this one essentially are. Why bother occupying a territory? Surely there are more worthwhile ways of spending 20 years.