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'Censored Voices' revisits 1967's Six Day War

'Censored Voices' revisits 1967's Six Day War
Music Box Films presents the "Censored Voices" official trailer. (Music Box Films)

Mor Loushy's documentary "Censored Voices" sets free a lost chorus from 1967's Six Day War: recordings made at the time by writer Amos Oz and editor Avraham Shapira — subsequently censored by the Israel Defense Forces — of Israeli soldiers in the immediate aftermath of that historic victory over Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Interviewed at kibbutzim, these men reveal a deep, clear-eyed dissatisfaction with the euphoria they were supposed to exhibit, bound up in torn feelings about killing, the treatment of prisoners and the notion of conquerors becoming an occupying force. What started as defending an existential threat became for these vanquishers an internal debate about what lay ahead for Israel, even as they fully acknowledged how grim the situation would have been if they'd lost.

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"Censored Voices" is a soul debriefing of sorts. The soldiers' tales of killing the captured and uprooting entire villages lead them to question whether the war was more about expansion than survival. Captivating newsreel footage from the conflict underscores these audio confessionals; Loushy also filmed the men in the present day, listening to their honest, open, decades-old testimonies.

Though many of the expressed emotions are repetitive, it feels deliberate — a forceful reminder that in all the heated talk about land, history and destiny, there's a counternarrative about what happens to people that should never be ignored.

"Censored Voices." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes. Playing: Laemmle's Royal, West L.A.; Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.

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