For 'Rock the Casbah' Helmer, a Director's Chair Became a Therapist's Couch

Yariv Horowitz, whose first feature film nabbed the prestigious International Confederation of Art Cinemas award at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, says making a movie about Israeli soldiers during the first intifada wasn't just cathartic for him. It was cathartic for the entire nation.

When Yariv Horowitz was drafted, 23 years ago, he was assigned to the Film Unit of the Israel Defense Forces' Spokesperson Office. As a tyro filmmaker with zero seniority he was given the scut work, with no pretense of artistic values: short, amusing films about the various army units, packed with inside jokes, shown to weary soldiers as part of the occasional entertainment evening on their bases. The assignment...