From Israeli Teen to IDF Soldier, Through the Lens of a Camera

'November 08' is not exactly a film about adolescence and not exactly a film about four friends, it's a film about Israeli society.

"November 08" is a film that follows four friends as they finish high school, travel abroad together, enlist and go through their army service. But "November 08," to be broadcast tonight on the Yes Docu channel, is not exactly a film about adolescence and not exactly a film about four friends. It contains these elements, but it's also a film about Israeli society, and it gently surveys Israel's approach to the army, the occupation and the state, as reflected in the four young people.

Amir is an excellent student who becomes an excellent soldier and officer. He and Adi, the comedian in the group, enlist in the artillery corps. Orine left high school because he didn't fit in. He is convinced that a military framework will be good for him but quickly changes his tune after he enlists in Nahal. Shapira, who didn't really care where he served, also ends up in Nahal. At least initially, the four give voice to several cliches that could only grace the lips of an enthusiastic youngster. And through their words, the film delves into the influence of peer pressure and group dynamics.

November 08, documentary
'November 08,' A portrait of Israeli society.

As months go by, cracks appear among the friends. Orine breaks down, goes missing and is eventually put on trial. Another friend talks about military checkpoints and arrests, and laughs about a situation that sounds horrendous. Two other soldiers, together through training, find it hard to contain the sense of irresponsibility they feel in light of their actions. All except for Amir break down, and each one asks to be relieved of combat duty, not to serve on the border with Gaza, or to be released from the army for psychological reasons.

The youngsters' transformation is palpable, and the viewer is left to consider some unavoidable questions.

"November 08" Yes Docu, 22:00.