To See If I’m Smiling

( Israel / 2007 )
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Israel has the only army in the world to draw women for mandatory military service. Here, female soldiers share their perspective on a seemingly endless war and the moral challenges inherent in their relationship to the Palestinian population. The women look back critically at the way they handled the power that was placed in their young hands at the young age of eighteen and courageously answer the painful questions that were never asked during their time in the army. Did they really smile in these pictures? 
Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 59 min.
Theme: Conflicts, Family, Gender, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Military, Personal Story, War, Women
Language(s): Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Director(s): Tamar Yarom
Producer(s): Tamar Yarom
Excluded regions: Israel
To See If I’m Smiling

Press

  • A frank and haunting look at the dark side of the lives of female soldiers in the Israel Defense Force, this is recommended.
    Video Librarian

Academic Notes

  • Ethics and Responsibility: The Feminization of the New Israeli Documentary, by Yael Munk
    "Yarom’s decision to present a retrospective look at the effect of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on young Israeli women soldiers in fighting units, all detailing the traumatic impact of their military service, is reminiscent of several similar testimony documentaries made in the 1990s."

Quotes & Tweets

  • “The Special Jury Prize is given to a film that makes all of us face the question: could this be me? Would I behave this way? The director and protagonists share memories of a different and painful existence in a way that touches and challenges us and is relevant everywhere in the world.”
    Jury Statement, Hot Docs - Toronto, Canada 2008
  • “….An unusual cinematic experience, courageous, piercing and sharp, the film raises complicated ethical questions…”
    Jury Statement, Haifa International Film Festival, Israel 2007

awards & accolades

  • Haifa - Best Documentary Award
  • IDFA - Silver Wolf Award, Audience Award
  • Human Rights Watch Warsaw - Best Documentary
  • HotDocs - Special Jury Award

Festival participation

  • Haifa
  • IDFA
  • Zagrebdox
  • Mexico City
  • Human Rights Watch Warsaw
  • Edinburgh
  • HotDocs
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Seoul
  • Helsinki
  • Vienna

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Additional Info


Production Company: Tamar Yarom
Distribution Company: First Hand Films

To See If I’m Smiling

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