Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz, 2017) Y
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot. That’s how the soldiers spell the alphabet. Foxtrot is also a swing-style rhythm and dance written in 4/4 time, very easy to follow. From September 2017, Foxtrot will be associated with the best in cinematography. Here’s why.
The film is divided in three parts.
Part 1. An Army detail informs the Feldman family that their son was killed in the line of duty. F for Foxtrot. F for Feldman family. F for Falling into pieces. F for Father dealing with the bureaucratic soldiers who haven’t even met his son and are telling him how the F for Funeral must be. Mother F for Faints whilst F for Father goes to the toilet and burns his hand with hot water.
It’s commotion on a prolonged note. How to tell other people of the boy’s death? Is it worthy telling his grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer? Everything whirls and the camera goes to places where the eye cannot F for Follow. Pure cinema.
Part 2. The boredom and the uselessness of war. The F for Focus shifts to the border on an isolated site, where F for Four soldiers spend their time dancing F for Foxtrot, among other things. Like drawing. (There is a proper animation here too.) So maybe this is a F for Flashback or maybe the soldier is still alive? Part 2 is F for Funnier than Part 1. Naturally, as it portrays younger people.
But something is decisively out of place. F for Fatality happens. Again music sets the tone: it’s Mahler Symphony n. 5 that is playing now, the same composition that opens Death in Venice (Visconti, 1971). A word to the wise is enough.
Part 3. Back to the F for Family house. It is a perplexing and bizarre scene between Father and Mother again. It is their son’s birthday but he is not around.
Foxtrot made me think of many things I have never thought before. I had the same sensation as when I F for First saw “Guernica” in the museum. I felt split too.
Foxtrot is authentic. F for Film of the Year.
Foxtrot is out in the UK now at the BFI LFF. Check the times here.