Screening at this year's Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF), Censored Voices is an 84 minute Hebrew (English Subtitles) documentary from Director Mor Loushy. It was the winner of the 2015 Ophir Awards (Israeli Oscar) for Best Documentary. Based on the book The Seventh Day by Amos Oz, this doco was made in Germany.
It revolves around recorded intimate conversations with Israeli soldiers back in 1967 10 days after the 'six day war' by renowned writer and novelist Amos Oz and editor Avraham Shapira. Censored for 50 whole years, the tapes are finally available and reveal the real battles that have remained secret until now. It's narrated by Amos himself.
Threatened by the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 and facing annihilation, Israel was victorious and ended this brief war just six days (June 5–10, 1967) later. Though seen as triumphant and victorious, when interviewed, the soldiers were lacking in happiness and joy. They instead focused on the depression they felt about what the great victory cost. These soldiers, first hand witnesses who lived through the war felt the magnitude of enemy fatalities, combatants and non-combatants. They had seen with their own eyes the brutal way conquered civilians were treated.
At first beginning cautiously then finally lending themselves to feeling comfortable, the soldiers begin, bounce off and continue from each other as they speak to Amos about their personal accounts. In this documentary the interviewees of 1967, the Israeli soldiers are brought back to listen to their confessions from half a century ago. Sometimes starting with a smile at the recognition of hearing their younger voices, their expressions soon turn sombre as they contemplate the beliefs and feelings of their younger selves with the wisdom and maturity of who they are now.
They talk about how they were not mentally prepared; not knowing whether to shoot or not to shoot non combatants. Didn't know they could think for themselves and just followed orders. Admitting to feeling superior for a moment they were now faced with human beings, civilians who looked upon them with fear. One of these old soldiers mentioned now knowing the cost, how the expression 'freed territory' frightens him. There are some harrowing scenes and plenty to ponder over as we watch a piece of history with perhaps breaking hearts about the realities of war.
Below, aside from the trailer, I've also included some footage from YouTube about the six day war. There's also a clip of Jewish International Film Festival's Festival Director Eddie Tamir as he talks about the festival on The SHTICK, a 30 minutes television program that showcases all facets of Jewish life. It's screened three times weekly on Melbourne Community Channel 31.
CLICK HERE to read about female director Mor Loushy and what drew her to tell the story of Censored Voices. Look up the JIFF website, Facebook page and Event Page to see a wonderful selection of 60 world class offering of Australian premieres at the festival. You can download the program HERE if you haven't already picked up a hard copy.