An abbreviated manual for military occupation

Directed by : Avi Mograbi

Festival Vision du Réel 2021 – Nyon - compétition officielle
Special Mention à la Berlinale Forum 2021 (Berlin - Germany)
Etoile de la Scam 2023
Special Jury Prize au Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
2021 (Yamagata - Japan)
Distribution Award au Gijon International Film Festival 2021(Gijon - Spain)

“Military occupation” is an abstract term, open to mistaken interpretation. What does “occupation” imply? What does it mean for people living under occupation? What means must be employed so that occupation can be implemented?


This film attempts to instill meaning in the term “occupation” in the form of a “manual for military occupation” derived from the testimonies of those people who implemented it in practice. Director Avi Mograbi hosts the viewers in his living room and provides insights to how a colonialist occupation works, the logic behind the practices that it produces and the different modes of thought needed to be applied at different situations in order to maintain it. In his presentation Mograbi is using the 54-year Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a case study.


The occupation as we see it is like a creature with an infinite number of heads. Each head is a good person, who served in the Israeli army and was stationed in the Occupied Territories, where he completed the missions imposed on him, and ultimately believed that he was taking part in fulfilling Israel’s conception of security. Almost every Jewish Israeli served in the army and played a part, whether directly or indirectly, in the day-to-day maintenance of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There have been many generations of laborers who did the dirty work, who learned the trade and passed it on to one another, from father to son, so that the next generation would know how to grease the cogs of military control. A miniscule group of them appears in this film and breaks down this service into daily activities. These are testimonies and not opinions. The witnesses in this film do not describe their thoughts or positions concerning what they did. They simply talk about what they did and about the actions that they were required to participate in, so that the occupation could exist then and continue to exist into the future. Not one of these activities is essential to the persistence of the occupation, but together, they constitute the occupation’s very essence.

fiche technique

Author : Avi Mograbi

Photography : Philippe Bellaiche & Tulik Gallon

Co-producers : Les Films d’Ici, 24 Images, Citizen Jane Productions, Avi Mograbi & productions

Sound : Joonas Jyrälä & Dominique Vieillard

Manager of production : Nicolas Lebecque

Editing : Avi Mograbi

Mixage : Dominique Vieillard

Producer : Arte France

Partners : Procirep

Available version : Français, Anglais & Hébreu

Broadcaster : Arte France

Length : 110'

Format : 2,35 (scope 16:9)


International sales : The Party Film Sales

From the same Director


In the same Collection


The same year