June, 1982. Israel invades Lebanon. When his squad is ambushed, Sergeant Cohen (Ivgi) is captured by a retreating PLO foot patrol. As the patrol pick their way through the unmarked minefield their country has become, back towards the dubious safety of Beirut, Cohen tries to reach out to his captors. English provides the means, but the real common language proves to be a shared passion for football: Palestinian and Israeli alike are stunned to learn of West Germany's defeat by Algeria in the World Cup finals in Spain, while Cohen's passionate support for Italy commends him to the patrol-leader Ziad (Bacri). Although his gripping, fundamentally humanist movie doesn't break any new ground, Riklis doesn't shirk from the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict, maintaining an admirably even-handed political stance as Cohen and Ziad gravitate from mutual incomprehension to grudging respect, with the tension between them never far away. After a slightly stilted opening, Riklis steers confidently between irony, menace and warmth, helped by a uniformly excellent cast.
Cast and crew