The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation

Hopefully no viewers will seriously attempt to put into practice what Avi Mograbi offers us from his living-room chair: a how-to guide to military occupation. His strategic reflections have the innocent veneer of general considerations as to how one might successfully occupy a foreign territory against all resistance. His prime example here is the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Statements from Israeli soldiers about their service there, which were gathered for the organisation Breaking the Silence, give insight into the historical stages of the occupation and its daily routines, which have been in place for decades. These emotionless descriptions of everyday arbitrariness and cruelty are harrowing and difficult to listen to.
Eyewitness reports and archival material are just two of the basic documentary techniques to which Mograbi’s instruction manual lends a reflexive frame and analytical acuity. Without relativising, he concentrates on the side of the perpetrator. The result is sharp-tongued and ironic but often helpless and full of sadness too in light of the seemingly unstoppable escalation.
by Avi Mograbi
with Avi Mograbi, Zvi Barel, Shlomo Gazit
France / Finland / Israel / Germany 2021 Hebrew, English 110’ Colour & Black/White Documentary form

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Avi Mograbi
  • Zvi Barel
  • Shlomo Gazit


Written and Directed by Avi Mograbi
Cinematography Philippe Bellaiche, Tulik Gallon
Editing Avi Mograbi
Sound Avi Mograbi
Executive Producers Camille Laemlé, Serge Lalou
Co-Producers Annie Ohayon-Dekel, Farid Rezkallah, Fabrice Puchault, Anne Grolleron, Elina Pohjola, Leila Lyytikäinen, Heino Deckert, Avi Mograbi
Co-Production Arte France Issy-les-Moulineaux
24 Images Le Mans
Citizen Jane Productions Helsinki
Avi Mograbi Tel Aviv productions Berlin

World sales

The Party Film Sales

Produced by

Les Films d'Ici

Avi Mograbi

Born in 1956 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He studied art and philosophy and has made more than twenty films since 1989. He has screened films at the Forum on several occasions, most recently Bein gderot (2016).


1989 Deportation; 11 min. 1994 The Reconstruction (The Danny Katz Murder Case); 50 min. 1996 Eich hifsakti lefached velamadeti lehov et Arik Sharon (How I Learned to Overcome My Fear and Love Arik Sharon); 61 min., Berlinale Forum 1997 1999 Yom Huledet Same'Ach, Mar Mograbi (Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi); 77 min., Berlinale Forum 1999 · Relief; 5 min., Loop 2000 At the back; 32 min. · Will You Please Stop Bothering Me and My Family; 3 min., Loop 2002 August; 72 min., Berlinale Forum 2002 · Wait, It's the Soldiers, I'll Hang Up Now; 13 min. 2004 Detail; 8 min., Berlinale Forum Expanded 2004 · Details 2 & 3; 9 min. · Detail 4; 5 min. 2005 Nekam achat mishtey eynay (Avenge But One of My Two Eyes); 100 min. · Details 5–10; 13 min. 2006 Mrs. Goldstein; 9 min. 2008 Z32; 82 min. 2009 Details 11–13; 11 min. 2012 Once I Entered a Garden; 100 min. 2016 Bein gderot (Between Fences); 85 min., Berlinale Forum 2016

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021