Foxtrot

Michael and Dafna are devastated when army officials show up at their home to announce the death of their son Jonathan. Michael becomes increasingly frustrated by overzealous mourning relatives and well-meaning army bureaucrats. While his sedated wife rests, Michael spirals into a whirlwind of anger only to experience one of life's unfathomable twists which rival the surreal military experiences of his son.

Film Credits

Countries: Israel, Germany, France
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, German
Duration: 114 min.
Directed by Samuel Maoz
Written by Samuel Maoz
Produced by Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, Eitan Mansuri, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Michel Merkt
Director of Photography: Giora Bejach
Main Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonatan Shiray

Director's statement

Einstein said that coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. Foxtrot is a dance of a man with his fate. It's a philo- sophical parable trying to deconstruct this vague concept called ›fate‹ through a story about father and son. They are far from each other, but despite the distance and the total separation between them they change each other's fate, and of course their fates. The challenge I set for myself was to deal with the gap between the things we control and those that are beyond our control. I chose to build my story as a classic Greek tragedy in which the hero creates his own punishment and fight against anyone who tries to save him. He is obviously unaware of the outcome that his action will bring about. On the contrary, he is doing something that seems right and logical to do. And that's the difference between a casual coincidence and a coincidence that looks like a plan of fate. Chaos is settled. The punishment corresponds to the sin in its exact form. There is something classic and circular in this process. And there is also an irony that is always associated with fate. A structure of a Greek tragedy in three sequences seemed to me like an ideal dramatic platform to deliver my idea. I wanted to tell a story that would be relevant to the crooked reality in which I, and we, live. A story with a relevant statement – local and universal. A story about two generations – the second generation of the Holocaust survivors and the third generation – and each of them experienced trauma during his army service. Part of this endless traumatic situation was forced upon us and part of it could have been avoided. A drama about a family that breaks apart and reunites. A conflict between love and guilt; love that copes with extreme emotional pain. And as in my previous film, Lebanon, I wanted to continue to investigate, in an intensive manner that combines criticism and compassion, a human dynamic created in a closed unit.
The film has a shot where you see a screen of a laptop with a notice of mourning and next to it a bowl with oranges. This frame is the story of my country in four words – oranges and dead soldiers. When my eldest daughter went to high school, she never woke up on time, and in order not to be late she would ask me to call for a taxi. This habit cost us quite a bit of money, and it seemed to me like a bad education. One morning I got mad and told her to take the bus like everyone else. And if that's why she'd be late, then she'd be late. Maybe she should learn the hard way to wake up in time. Her bus was line 5. Half an hour after she left, I see in a news site that a terrorist blew himself up in line 5, and that dozens of people were killed. I called her but the cellular operator collapsed because of the unexpected load. Half an hour later, she returned home. She was late for the bus that exploded. She saw him leave the station and took the next bus. And I'm still considered lucky because I have girls ...

About the director

Samuel Maoz was born in Tel Aviv in 1962. At 13, he received a 8mm movie camera and a roll of film. He wanted to recreate a gunfight scene he had seen in a western and set his camera on the tracks of an approaching train. It got smashed to smithereens. However, by 18, he had already made dozens of films.As a young soldier he was part of a tank crew. He trained as a gunner, firing at barrels of fuel that exploded like fireworks. It felt like a Luna Park game. Only when war broke out in June 1982, did he learn the horrors of being a gunner. In 1987 he completed his cinema studies, but it took him 20 years more to finally create his first feature film, Lebanon. He has worn a suit only twice in his life: on his Bar-Mitzva, and when he won the Golden Lion Award in Venice for Lebanon. Eight years later he wrote and directed his second film, Foxtrot.