‘Foxtrot’ is a powerful, tragic dance through war and grief

The eponymous dance serves as a metaphor for the condition of life amid the intractable Mideast conflict in the Israeli …

Directed by Samuel Maoz

Starring Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler

Rated R

Playing at Angelika Film Center, City Cinemas 1, 2 & 3

The eponymous dance serves as a metaphor for the condition of life amid the intractable Mideast conflict in the Israeli drama “Foxtrot,” a movie that evokes a sense of absurdist, cosmic frustration.

Over the course of three chapters, the writer-director Samuel Maoz offers a scathing depiction of military-industrial corruption and its vast consequences.

The film is deeply critical of the state apparatus in its story of parents (Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler) coping with the news that their son has died — in a fashion that is honest rather than propagandistic — in the line of duty. It captures a sense of ennui that’s a familiar presence in Israeli cinema about the military, a sense of a mission lost in a morass, and shades it with a touch of surrealism and a great sweeping dose of tragedy.

It is as much about these characters, portrayed by two of Israel’s finest actors, and their individual journeys as it is about dramatizing on a personal level the idea that powerful players might well be invested in keeping peace a permanent illusion.

“No matter where you go,” Ashkenazi’s Michael Feldmann says of the foxtrot, “you always end up at the same starting point.”

Robert Levin