Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Guy Davidi Brings ‘Innocence’ To IDFA, Powerful Doc That Questions Militarization Of Israeli Society

guy davidia film by innocence Is horrified by the words of Israeli soldiers who did not survive their mandatory military service.

One of the soldiers noted, “Human beings have a desire for destruction,”; indicating their deep skepticism about being forced to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Another says, “Murder knocks me out.” Whether they harbor misconceptions or not, every Israeli – male and female – must serve in the army upon reaching the age of 18.

innocenceplayed on idfa In the Best of Fests category, Davidi’s view examines the psychological impact of militarization that afflicts Israel, affecting individuals and the nation as a whole.

“When you meet people who have served in the military, they’ve all been wounded,” David told Deadline. “We are a wounded society.”

director guy davidi

Danish Documentary / Medallia Productions

Davidi, who co-directed the famous 2011 documentary five broken camerasworked on innocence for a decade. The initial years of the project attempted to establish contact with the families of soldiers who killed themselves while serving in the IDF (Suicide deaths among active military in Israel in 2021 and 2020, according to The Times of Israel was the main reason). Many of these families shared writings and videos of their loved ones, archival material that became the driving force of the film.

“My idea was to tell the story from their point of view,” explains Davidi, “so not filming interviews or someone talking about [the soldiers]Or professionals, just let them speak, tell the story.

The words of 20-year-old Halil Givati ​​Rap are among the words that resonate in the film. He wrote in his diary, “This world is full of evil, exploitation, injustice and pain. Once I joined the military, I became part of what makes it.

Children playing in 'Innocence'


Danish Documentary / Medallia Productions

everywhere innocence, Davidi weaves in scenes of Israeli children at school or at play. Sporadic moments communicate the degree to which children begin to think of their country in militaristic terms from a young age. For example, in one scene at a fair, soldiers demonstrate their weapons to children, and the children are given a chance to paint their faces olive green with camouflage paint. Davidi filmed another scene of young children participating in an art project in the classroom.

“The [teacher] was instructing children as young as four to paint,” Davidi recalls.[She says], ‘You can paint whatever you want. Feel free to fantasize. But green is good for uniform and army. I think in the first 10 years of your life… you are indoctrinated, you are conditioned, but you are not yet forced to adopt a military mindset from that age.

Davidi filmed a scene in a classroom setting where a girl, Ella, about 10 years old, tells a young man in the Scouts that she is not interested in joining the army. Scout tells him that he will not have a choice in the matter – he will have to serve once he reaches the age of 18.

“The moment he tells her, yes, everyone has to do that, she’s hooked,” says Davidi. “And that was a non-directed scene, a complete surprise to me. You can really say that at a certain age everyone goes through those moments somehow. I was lucky to capture it because it was with her.” Hua – Well, it’s too late, because most kids his age will know by then that they have to do military service.

Davidi is deeply troubled by the compulsory nature of military service.

Israeli soldiers in a training exercise, as seen in 'Innocence'

Danish Documentary / Medallia Productions

“It is the right of every man not to carry a gun and not to be compelled by any country [to do so], By the way, I am against it in every country and in every situation. “I think it’s something we shouldn’t be doing as a society [do]… I’m not happy to see people forced to do that, because it’s a violation of human rights, to me, the right not to hold a gun against someone else … It’s your right not to hurt someone, Don’t kill anyone.

Davidi enlisted in the military at age 18, hoping to be placed in a “back unit” where he might be assigned filmmaking duties. Deep remorse immediately attacked him.

He recalls, “The first few days you’re like, ‘What have I done to myself?’ … When you hold a gun for the first time – I can relate to my experiences – something changes in you when you have this piece of metal in your arms. And even if you’re not aware of it, I think something changes in you because suddenly there’s a greater sense of what you’re doing and what your actions are.

Davidi suggests that Israel’s strong military posture has led its people to believe that might is right. He says that the militarized approach can express itself in different ways.

“To grow, to make your military stronger and bigger, that means getting more people involved with the military, getting more involved with the government, with security. For example, it changes their way of looking at international relations.” replaces.” “I don’t think we [place] A lot of value in diplomacy as a country… They are good at using diplomacy as part of our security strategy and our military strategy. I think when you become accustomed to your power and other societies may take risks to solve issues through force, that too has a price.

Israeli soldiers practicing blindfolded.

Israeli soldiers practicing blindfolded.

Danish Documentary / Medallia Productions

Davidi is troubled by the portrayal of the IDF in the entertainment media as an unstoppable force. They say these portrayals are exported to other countries, including the US, where they influence behaviour.

He said, ‘I’m just amazed… how much the Israeli army is portrayed in American film, television. Fouda There is a huge TV series on Netflix and because of the army creates an image of a strong Israeli society. And that, to me, is immoral. If you’re in the world of science fiction or whatever, that’s fine – but we’re talking about the reality of people’s lives and what it means to be a militarized society and to project Israel as a successful society. Reasons to submit to military service, because they are strong, because they are in control of their own destiny, is just, to me, that’s a warped thinking.

“And unfortunately, a lot of people, especially those who are associated with Israel,” says Davidi, by which he means American Jews, “they kind of buy into this image. They think it’s a successful The country has a positive image.

Guy Davidi, director at the IDFA in Amsterdam, Monday, November 14, 2022

Guy Davidi, director at the IDFA in Amsterdam, Monday, November 14, 2022

Courtesy of Matthew Carey

innocence premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September, but has not yet debuted in Israel.

Davidi says, “I’m sure the film is actually going to be embraced a lot by Israelis because everyone in Israel is serving in the military.” “They all know the army, regardless of their political views. They know how difficult it is to serve in the military. So, even if their opinion is correct, they will embrace the film on some level because everyone has experienced someone who has committed suicide in the military or thought about it or attempted it.

The director isn’t so optimistic about the film’s possible reaction by some American audiences.

“I think the biggest challenge for us is the American audience, because American Jews have a particularly strong support [the] With idealism about the Israeli army, the army,” he says, “to the point that I’m not sure the film will reach American audiences.”

Outlook is handling international sales for innocence, Davidi directed and co-edited the film with Maja Friis. Sigrid Dikzor and Hilla Medalia produced. Cinematography is by Davidi and Avner Schaaf. The score is by Snorri Hallgrimsson.