Fate's Foxtrot

Jerrold 2022-11-06 23:39:21

This article was first published on [MOVIE Wooden Guardian] (WeChat account: movie345)

At weddings in western countries, the newlyweds usually choose a foxtrot dance or a romantic waltz as the first couple dance at the wedding ceremony, wishing them a happy, beautiful and romantic new life from now on.

In the film of Israeli director Samuel Maoz, the foxtrot is used as a symbol with multiple meanings. It is no longer a symbol of the beginning of a new life, but the code name of the border level in Israel, and it is also "always returning to the beginning". Fatal metaphor. The footwork of the foxtrot is carefully designed as the movement trajectory of the film story development and spatial displacement, forming a closed-loop structure of "forward - sideways - back - return".

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The movie opens with two soldiers knocking on the protagonist's door, bringing news of the death of their son Jonathan. The bad news was like a bullet, which suddenly tore a hole in the family, knocked down his mother Dafna, and stunned his father Michael. The military, apparently accustomed to how to deal with the families of fallen soldiers, expertly sedated Dafna to sleep, and advised Michael to set an alarm to remind him to drink a glass of water every hour to avoid dehydration. While the funeral arrangements were being carried out in an orderly manner, the news of death was like a roaring pump pumping out the air around Michael, causing him to constantly fall into tearing and friction with the outside world, as well as his own escape and punishment.

Most of the scenes in the first segment take place in Michael and Dafna's apartment, where minimalist and modern decor, well-planned spaces, unrealistic window views and limited camera shifts trigger a staged situation. Create the theater-like illusion of being in it. In this claustrophobic space, the oppressive close-up of the camera traps Michael in a cramped situation, infinitely magnifying his mania exposed to the great sadness, and the tension heated up by emotions is like a sharp noise scratching the viewer's nerves.


The second segment of the film moves to the desolate northern border checkpoint, where four soldiers, including Jonathan, are stationed—whose main task is to get comfortable with being slow in addition to routinely checking traffic and people. Passing camels are released.

The emotional tension and claustrophobic confined physical space in the first paragraph are suddenly relieved in the open and boundless desert. For a moment, the sadness induced by the news of the death suddenly turned into a surreal absurdity.

The sky is as unreal as it is dyed blue by paint. In front of the outdated hand-painted billboard, the lonely soldier grabs the rifle as a dance partner, and steps on the lonely foxtrot on the empty road; in the wet and muddy container, Over and over, they test the sloping degree of tumbled cans of lunchmeat, and use salty "Last Bedtime Story" to spice up the tedious repetition of life.

Of course, let’s not forget the quagmire of war and the military duty they are in, and the little bit that comes with that duty goes above and beyond the rights of Palestinian civilians: Arab travelers passing through checkpoints are always forced to accept the soldiers’ long and even Humiliating inspection. And this right made this group of soldiers who are no different from ordinary young people prematurely pushed to the position of killing decision, which led to a tragedy of manslaughter.


Maybe not a good soldier, but Jonathan is a good illustrator, recording his father's story and his experience at the level in a notebook. Presented in a playful animation format, these illustrations connect the past and present of "The Last Bedtime Story": How Father Michael traded a Holocaust-surviving Bible for a pornographic magazine with a cover of naked women with naked breasts The big black fork on the top seduces the hot fantasies of the thirsty teenager about the female body, and at the same time, it is also branded on his eyes like a birthmark, accompanying him to grow, graduate, join the army, work, marry and even have children; in front of people, the big black fork The cowardice and ignorance of his youth were sealed, and the wounds left by the war were hidden, and only Jonathan saw his father's loneliness and helplessness and the bitter tears shed silently under this disguise.

The notebook was brought back from the battlefield with Jonathan, to his parents. It sets up the battlefield and retreats to the fictional space of the family, avoiding the direct elaboration of family emotions, and connecting the warmth and understanding between father and son from a special incision.


The third segment of the film cuts back to Michael and Dafna's apartment, at a time when the family has been torn apart by the remorse and pain of bereavement. The space that was once filled with grief, cries and loud quarrels becomes an empty container of silence, the tense stage tension and dramatic conflict disappear, and the vertigo surreal is pulled back to the silent reality.

Dafna can't face her husband who indirectly contributed to the tragedy, and Michael believes that the doom he once avoided on the battlefield is like a belated punishment for his son, like the footwork of the foxtrot "always going back to the beginning". And behind this futile tragedy, it points to the national mechanism that sends young and fresh lives to the battlefield.

The three-segment structure of the film is completely different from the traditional three-segment chapters. Together they form an ingenious and reincarnating structure. Just like in the previous work "Lebanon", the tank became an absolute narrative space and narrative tool, Maoz constructed the apartment as the main narrative space in "Foxtrot" to present the confrontation between the individual family and the external world, fusion The thoughts, memories and dreams of the family and the past, present and future of the family. The four cowardly and ignorant souls are wrapped in the indestructible heavy shell of the tank in "Lebanon", but in the apartment, a sheltered place far from the battlefield, the individual's heart-wrenching wailing bounces on the solid wall, and what turns back is the heavy and ignorant soul. overflowing with memories.

Maoz isn't content with just telling a bereaved story, about death, war, and family, "Foxtrot" tries to dig deeper. Michael's mother, an Auschwitz survivor, symbolizes the indelible traumatic memory of the Jewish people. The haze of the suffering complex forms a twisted justice that prompts the authorities to continue the war; the forbidden symbol on the naked woman's breast is more and more inciting young people. People's fanatical yearning for worldly pleasures, and the son who is stuck on his way home, points to another unfathomable future-an ancient Greek-style fatalistic tragedy that tries to escape but will eventually return to the original point. Anxiety about the current state of the nation and nation.

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