Israel is the only country in the world where 18-yearold girls are drafted for compulsory military service. In To See If I’m Smiling, a few of them describe their experiences during their two years in the army. All of these young women were stationed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, places where the conflict is intense. Although they were not directly involved in armed operations, they were in positions that provided a unique perspective on the tense relationship between Israel and the Palestinian population. For the first time, they speak openly about their experiences, in interviews that are complemented with both archive footage and personal material. Their two years of service left an indelible impression on each of them. They explain what it was like to hold their own as the only female soldier among men, but also tell about the moral dilemmas and doubts regarding the way the Palestinians are treated at the checkpoints.
Tamar Yarom is an author, a filmmaker and professor at college of arts at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
To See If I’m Smiling
2007, 59', color, video
Shiri Bar-On, Daniel Gal, Itamar Mandes-Flor
Festivals & Awards:
Haifa International Film Festival - Best Documentary