“LATE SUMMER BLUES”— An Israeli Classic

“LATE SUMMER BLUES”

An Israeli Classic

Amos Lassen

Renen Schorr’s classic cult film, “Late Summer Blues” has now been digitally restored. When it was first released in 1988 it won the Israeli Academy Awards Winner for Best Film,

 

Best Screenplay and Best Original Score and was screened at over 30 international film festivals around the world It is set in the summer of 1970 in Tel Aviv and looks at a group of seven eighteen-year old kids just before their induction to the army during the time of the War of Attrition at the Suez Canal. During the “short and charged weeks they will try, individually and as a group, to dream, to fulfill their ambitions and to change reality by their graduation ceremony show.”

It is a beautiful and sensitive film that shows the effects of war on everyday life while barely touching the topic of war. We see a mix of joy and sadness, childhood and maturity and the dilemmas that the characters are facing as they decide to join or not to join the army and in which unit. We meet a variety of characters including the non-conformist who joins the army because he understands that there is no such privilege; the guy that everything works for, an aspiring filmmaker; a hopeful songwriter; a left-wing conscientious objector; a young newlywed couple; and a likable, curly-headed oaf who is the first to be drafted and the first, naturally, to be killed (but not in battle: a nice irony).

The film wonderfully captures all the exuberance and awkward idealism of youth without the stereotypes. We also seethe effects of an unending war on a young generation compelled by duty and circumstance to sacrifice more than just their lives.

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