Military service is compulsory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18. It is deemed a patriotic duty to defend a country that is forever on alert. Guy Davidi’s documentary uses the stories of recruits who have committed suicide to question the pressures on children and teenagers in a society intent on making every citizen a soldier. A thoughtful, wide-ranging focus results in an eye-opening documentary that grows into a moving lament for the dead.
Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
Both in Israel and in the West, the general image of military service is that of a rite of passage, a tradition that may seem strange but is essentially harmless. Guy Davidi’s Innocence – – questions the Israeli status quo by focusing on children who did not make it back from the two to three years they were required to spend training with the Israel Defense Forces.
What is immediately remarkable about the documentary is the way it manages to be both brutally down to earth and incredibly poetic. We see home movies showing four particular children as they casually talk to whoever is manning the camera about their upcoming military service, but also about normal kids’ stuff. – – Presented in a straightforward manner, this material alone would still have been extremely impactful. But rather than simply documenting the facts and thoughts of these dead soldiers-in-training, Davidi also seeks to make us feel the way they felt: alone, alienated from themselves, detached from everyone around them, guilty and in despair.
Elena Lazic, Cineuropa