Every year, the cloud forests of India’s Himalayan foothills provide the ideal escape for some 30,000 young Israelis just released from mandatory military service. With a pocketful of discharge money and a socially sanctioned time-out from concerns back home, 90 percent of these travelers will take drugs, and some 2,000 will end up needing psychiatric care for what has become known, even in Hebrew, as “flipping out.”
Talented verité documentary filmmaker Yoav Shamir follows up on his two earlier, extraordinary accounts of Israeli military life—Checkpoint (SFJFF 2004) and 5 Days (SFJFF 2006)—by hanging out in the mountains (and, during the rainy season, in coastal Goa) with these young men and women as they decompress from the impossible stresses of military service during the occupation and clashes with Lebanon. Stories unfold before his ever-present camera; recently “ex-” soldiers try to express their feelings, but for most, they are still far too close to the experience—or they are far too stoned—to offer much insight. That perspective is provided by the small band of Israeli social workers, barefoot rabbis, guidance counselors and consular officials who have followed what they fear is a “lost generation” to their Shangri-La in order to keep them from going off the edge. Most fascinating is Hilik Magnus, a former Mossad agent, hired by Israeli families to find their wayward children and bring them safely home. Flipping Out is an unsettling picture of collective numbing-out, and of the peculiar safety net provided by a tight-knit society to its members in free fall.
From 2008 Festival: Director, Israel
Yoav Shamir is graduate of the Tel-Aviv University Film Department, his debut film
'Marta&Luis' appeared in festivals in Edinburgh (2001), Tel-Aviv (2002) and Berlin
His second film, "Checkpoint" was a huge success winning awards such as: Joris
Ivens Award (IDFA), Best international feature documentary film Festival 2004). The film participated in over 40 festivals receiving high praise. His next documentary made in 2005, "5 days", participated in IDFA, Sundance Festival, Hot Docs among others.