To See If I'm Smiling

Genre:  Documentary

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Israel is one of the only nations in the world that demands compulsory military service from women as well as men, but despite the fact the nation has had a sexually integrated army for decades, the experience of women in the Israeli military is often very different from that of their male counterparts.

Filmmaker Tamar Yarom presents powerful profiles of six women who share their frequently harrowing experiences on assignment in the occupied territories in the documentary Lir'ot im ani mehayechet (aka To See If I'm Smiling.

Several of Yarom subjects look back in horror at their days in the army, recalling how the demands of living up to the macho standards of their male colleagues and the no-quarter philosophy of combat led them to treat innocent Palestinians in a brutal manner, while others have not been able to heal the emotional scars that were inflicted upon them in combat.

The women also share stories of how the realities of life as soldiers led them to embrace a callous, violent attitude that bore little resemblance to their civilian personality, and represents a side they've been desperate to suppress now that they're out of uniform again.

To See If I'm Smiling was an official selection at New York's 2008 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

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