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The Alpha Diaries

Directed by: Yaniv Berman
65 Minutes, 2007

In Israel you have to go to the army when you become 18. It’s three years of full, hard service, when you are asked to be a soldier beyond the border lines of Israel, in the midst of the Palestinian territories. After that, when you’re 21, you return to your normal life, leaving it all behind, and you erase your memory of those three years. And then you begin your life. But not so fast… In a country under constant threat, your duty doesn’t end there; it continues with the mandatory Reserves Service. In March 2002 a war started, and I was drafted to the reserve forces. I was greeted into Alpha Company, where I found myself a soldier once again. We left our lives behind, riding on the dusty roads into the inferno. I took my camera with me, and it never left my side for 5 years. In one hand was the M-16, the LAU on my back, and with the other hand, holding on as if my life depended on it, was my Sony DVCam, shooting footage of everything I could. This movie is the story of the people in Alpha Company, whom every year dress and become soldiers. Under the guise of our olive green uniform and lethal weapons, we’re asked to do some of the toughest, most unsettling tasks, in the heart of an urban Palestinian town. This is our contribution to our country, our democracy, it’s a tax we pay for Israel, to be like any other western culture where people can sit at home and watch TV, like in Europe, or like in far away America. This is the story of the burden, the guilt and the sorrow we have to carry with us. It’s the story of the ways we make ourselves forget what we must do every year for 30 days. Forget, and then return to it again. The camera followed us from the moment we dressed in our uniform to the moment we put our casual clothes – our civilian uniform – back on. The camera was with us in the most difficult and dangerous moments, and stayed there when we laughed and entertained ourselves behind the shielded walls of the barracks. Pornography, drugs and alcohol were often our window to the other way of life, when it got hard and unbearable, when we thought we were going to loose it. Attention Alpha Company! is the surreal story of the civilian-soldier, and the inhuman task he carries upon himself, when everybody else wants to forget. This movie is a view into the looking glass, to remind us what is happening in our own back yard, lest we forget.


Director: Yaniv Berman

Producer: Avi Kleinberger

Cast: Ronit Porat

Cast: Gabi Shihor

Cinematographer: Yaniv Berman