Beaufort (film)

Beaufort (film)

Infobox Film
name = Beaufort

image_size =
director = Joseph Cedar
producer = Moshe Edery
writer = Ron Leshem
Joseph Cedar
narrator =
starring = Oshri Cohen
Itay Tiran
Eli Eltonyo
Ohad Knoller
Itay Turgeman
music = Ishai Adar
cinematography = Ofer Inov
editing = Zohar M. Sela
distributor = United King Films
Kino International
released = Start date|2007|2|14 (premiere at BIFF)
Start date|2007|3|8 (Israel)
Start date|2008|1|18 (USA)

runtime = 125 min.
country = flag|Israel
language = Hebrew
budget = US$2 million (estimated)
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:350383
imdb_id = 0758732

"Beaufort" (original _he. בופור) is a 2007 Academy Award-nominated Israeli film. The war film was directed by Joseph Cedar and was co-written by Cedar and Ron Leshem, based on Leshem's acclaimed novel of the same name (originally "If There is a Heaven"). [cite web|url= |title=Beaufort - Random House |accessdate=2008-01-24 |publisher="Random House"] The film is about an IDF unit stationed at the Beaufort post in Southern Lebanon during the South Lebanon conflict, and their commander, Liraz Librati, who was the last commander of the Beaufort castle before the Israeli withdrawal in 2000.


The film takes place in the year 2000, the year of the IDF withdrawal from the Israeli Security Zone in southern Lebanon. It chronicles the daily routine of a group of soldiers positioned at the 12th century Crusader stronghold of Beaufort Castle, their feelings and their fears, and explores their moral dilemmas in the days preceding the withdrawal and end of the 18-year South Lebanon conflict.

The film's director, himself an IDF veteran who was stationed in Lebanon during the first Lebanon war, uses the stone walls of Beaufort castle as a symbol of the futility and endlessness of war. The film was shot during the spring of 2006 at Nimrod Fortress, a similar mountaintop Crusader fort in northern Israel. Cedar said he was influenced by the film "Das Boot", and the World War I "bunker films", when creating the underground tunnels and mazes of the Beaufort. [cite web|url= |title=Interview with Joseph Cedar |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="NRG (Maariv)" (Hebrew)] He also said that "Paths of Glory" was a heavy influence, specifically on the bomb-disarming mission scene.cite web|url=,0,4008241.story |title=Joseph Cedar is in the Oscar running |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="Los Angeles Times"]

Filming was completed in June, just a month before the second war in Lebanon broke out.



"Beaufort" was generally well received by critics. As of July 29, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 88% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 40 reviews. [cite web|url= |title=Beaufort - Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2008-01-23 |publisher="Rotten Tomatoes"] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave it an A, calling it "a movie of tremendous power - nerve-racking, astute, and neutral enough to apply to all soldiers, in all wars, everywhere". [cite web|url=,,20172267,00.html |title=Beaufort - Entertainment Weekly |accessdate=2008-01-28 |publisher="Entertainment Weekly"]
A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Even if it does not entirely rise above cliché, 'Beaufort' has an earnest, sober intelligence that makes it hard to shake. It suggests that, for those who fight, the futility of war is inseparable from its nobility." cite web|url= |title=Israeli Soldiers Man a Fortress of Futility |accessdate=2008-01-23 |publisher="The New York Times"] The film's concept and look were compared to those of "Letters from Iwo Jima". [cite web|url= |title=Beaufort - New York Magazine |accessdate=2008-01-23 |publisher="New York Magazine"] [cite web|url= |title=Israeli cinema is into something good |accessdate=2008-01-26 |publisher="Haaretz"]

The film gained mostly very positive reviews in Israel; several reviewers called it one of the best Israeli films ever. [cite web|url=,7340,L-3373305,00.html |title=Beaufort - Pnai Plus |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="Ynet" (Hebrew)] [cite web|url= |title=Beaufort - Walla! |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="Walla!" (Hebrew)] Hannah Brown of The Jerusalem Post called it the first great Israeli war film. [cite web|url= |title=Cinefile: Will 'Beaufort' be left standing? |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="The Jerusalem Post"] The less positive reviews claimed that the film lacks a direct confrontation with its issues or criticism. [cite web|url= |title=Beaufort - Haaretz |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="Haaretz" (Hebrew)] [cite web|url=,7340,L-3373549,00.html |title=Beaufort - Ynet |accessdate=2008-01-27 |publisher="Ynet" (Hebrew)]

Effi Eitam, an Israeli war hero who was an Israel Defense Forces high commander in Lebanon (he was replaced by Moshe Kaplinsky several months before the withdrawal), said that the film "successfully depicts, in great detail, the military experience".cite web | title = Shooting ducks? | publisher = "Ynet" | url =,7340,L-3371384,00.html | accessdate = 2008-01-28] Eitam also criticized the creators for showing only the last days of the fighting and not telling the full story of the 18 years of Israeli fighting in Lebanon ("Whoever watches this movie is likely to think that this entire war was just a matter of inane duck shooting... That’s not how we operated").


"Beaufort" is one of the most successful Israeli films of the aughts. It made more than $500,000 in the first 3 weeks of its release in the Israeli market, a substantial amount for a domestic Israeli film. Since its release, it was viewed by over 300,000 viewers in Israel.


On September 30, 2008, Kino International will release the film in DVD format.

Awards and nominations

Cedar has won the Silver Bear in the Berlin International Film Festival for directing "Beaufort", which is his third film. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film [cite press release | title = 80th Academy Awards Nominations Announced | publisher = Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences | date = 2008-01-22 | url = | accessdate = 2008-01-22] , the first such nomination for an Israeli film since "Beyond the Walls" (1984) and the ninth overall. In Israel it won 4 Ofir Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Artistic Design and Best Soundtrack. It was also nominated for Best Picture, although the award went to "The Band's Visit", making "Beaufort" the first film directed by Cedar to not win this award. "The Band's Visit"'s status as a foreign language film in the Academy Awards was rejected because it contains over 50% dialogue in English, which caused the runner-up "Beaufort" to become Israel's submission instead.


The casting has raised serious public criticism in Israel, especially from families of slain soldiers and war veterans, given the fact that some of the actors did not serve in the Israeli army (Army service is compulsory in Israel, although some people are exempt). Cedar commented that the actors had to spend a month at an actual outpost preparing for their roles, and that "Israel may be the only place where actors are expected to have actual combat experience when playing soldiers in a movie".

It was rumored that it was the filmmakers of "Beaufort" who brought to the Academy's attention the ineligibility, on language grounds, of "The Band's Visit". "Beaufort"'s makers denied this rumor.



External links

* [ Official website]
* [ "Beaufort" original soundtrack] at MySpace
* [ indieWIRE review]

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