13 December 2007

Private Maneuvers

Private Maneuvers
Israel - 1983
Director - Zvi Shissel
MGM/UA Book-cover VHS box

Well, we know the legacy of Amercanized Israelis Golan and Globus, who's Cannon Pictures released this gem, so it should come as no surprise that some weird stuff was happening in the film industry of the Promised Land. Private Maneuvers is an Israeli army comedy that manages to load a surplus of politically incorrect crudities and stereotypes into an unhindered if crudely executed M.A.S.H. clone.

A squad of fat stupid misfit soldiers is left to train under ridiculously enthusiastic but predictably bumbling racist stereotype of an (east) Indian Sergeant named Ramit, alternately called something that sounds, in the brutally dubbed "funny" accents remarkably like "Fuck You". The Capitan of the unit is another fat incompetent bastard, this time with a thick British accent. Simplistic uncreative colonial cookie-cutter comedy characters every one.

That is until Ramit refers to his squad of dumb-asses as "artists and young faggots". Now you know this is just going to get even cuter. Scheduled to compete against a troop of highly disciplined killers in the annual wargames, Captain orders Ramit to drill the troops mercilessly.
The goldbricking clown of the squad, Huey, attempts to steal sick passes from the doctor's office but is subjected to a prolonged overly intimate fat jiggling session, and a frighteningly enthusiastic rectal examination, a theme to which we are to later return repeatedly with great comic effect.

Moments later, Huey inexplicably returns to the barracks with two women in tow whom, to the strains of the song "Mr. Sandman" he doses with home-made roofies while the rest of the squad look on with anticipation. Just as I began to dry heave with thoughts of gang rape, Ramit shows up and more silly antics ensue. Several Swiss observers show up to watch the wargames, and one of them, a woman can't seem to keep her labia from seeking the open breeze.A series of slide whistle accompanied erection shots follow, and while leading the Swiss miss to her room,. Ramit declares that she is just like hot curried potatoes.Planning his sexual conquest, Ramit assembles an arsenal of bad sex jokes, but in a cruel twist of fate accompanied by more slide-whistles, Huey lands in the girl's pants, eliciting painful simultaneous yodeling from the Swiss Miss and the soundtrack, more uncomfortable sexual abuse and domination from the rest of the squad, and an intensification of intoxication from this viewer. Eventually of course, with the help of some homophobic jokes, cross-dressing and some well endowed sand table strategy... ...Ramit's boys manage to win the wargames, bringing this film - like my drink - to a happy if hazy and spinning conclusion. Where films like Basic Training approached this subject with somewhat questionable motives, Private Maneuvers gleefully employs the double barrels of racism and sexism whole hog. I would go on to say that it discriminates against stupid people too, but I'm not sure if that's meant to be self deprecating. Every element is taken just a bit further than I'm used to, and scored to popular songs of the 60's, so it's a little but disquieting. I would say that this movie lost something in translation, but instead, I think it gained something in mis-translation. At least I hope so, nothing this beautifully crass could have been planned.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just love this film...
If anyone know were to get it online..
please donarcanjo@gmail.com

mohammad said...

I just love this film...
If anyone know were to get it online..

please shksajjad66@yahoo.co.in