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A squad of terrorists infiltrate a kibbutz but find themselves trapped in the children’s nursery with hostages who are less than four years old. Told from multiple perspectives, this is the true story of that night, on April 7 1980.
Nadav Schirman, two-time Israeli Academy Award winner, began his career with a trilogy of high-voltage documentaries which delved into the psychology of spies and terrorists. The third of the trilogy, The Green Prince, opened the Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award. April 7, 1980 is his first narrative feature.
Film Review: April 7, 1980 is a vivid dramatisation of a real occurrence at a kibbutz near the border between Israel and Lebanon. The commune was attacked by an armed group from the Arab Liberation Force hoping to secure the release of Lebanese political prisoners in Israeli jails, through seizure of civilian hostages. Director Nadav Schirman’s depiction of this event does not focus on its political context. Instead, Schirman explores the emotional toll of the conflict’s ceaseless violence and its traumatic effects on the day-to-day experience of individual citizens. The film begins with a routine evening in the kibbutz as its occupants arrange work rotas, go out for entertainment and put children to bed. Suddenly, the night escalates in the most frightening way possible. We follow the hostage situation from the viewpoint of a few different participants, which accentuates the characters’ growing paranoia and their lack of clear information. The situation quickly becomes a highly tense standoff between groups under immense emotional strain. Schirman expresses this confusion and chaos in how he captures the penetrating darkness of this April evening - with only very minimal sources of light, the denial of illumination is shared between characters and viewers. April 7, 1980 ultimately gives us a chance to reflect on how human beings act when put under immense psychological pressure. Josh Brown