Israel | 2016 | 83 min | Hebrew | Director Attending
Uncompromising crowd-funded drama Land of the Little People concerns a gang of four children from an Israeli army village. As another war begins and their fathers are drafted into service, the children’s mothers sit worried in front of TV reports. The gang sets up camp in an abandoned military base but subsequently discovers it has been settled by two soldiers who have deserted their units. Faced with the children’s attempts to regain control of their territory, the soldiers hold their ground and a ruthless struggle ensues. Scene by scene, the action escalates to a tense stand-off and the wounds inflicted become ever more crippling. The film is a chilling, matter-of- fact socio-political metaphor, describing how children learn to justify and savour killing with no moral qualms—recalling both Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games but in a highly specific contemporary context.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Yaniv Berman is a graduate of the Department of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University. His previous work includes the short film Even Kids Started Small (2006) and the award-winning documentary The Alpha Diaries (2007). Yaniv also produces and directs commercials. He lives in Israel with his wife and two daughters. Speaking about Land of the Little People, Yaniv says, “I want to tell about Israeli children that grow up like I did, in a militant society, with the war always in the background. I would like to raise the question of how this ongoing conflict can ever come to an end, when generations of children grow up in this environment and have come to know only the aggressive solutions to their problems.”