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Flipping Out

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Military service is compulsory in Israel for all Jewish men and women. After their years of service, they are granted a discharge bonus, which many of them use to fly to India to recover from their experiences. Approximately 90 per cent will use drugs during their stay, and each year some two thousand of them will need professional help due to this drug use. The psychotic break with reality they experience is commonly referred to as Flipping Out.

Shot over a period of two years by award-winning documentary filmmaker Yoav Shamir, Flipping Out offers a close-up look at these former soldiers, most of them under the age of 25, as they follow this strange post-military odyssey. From the guest houses of northern India to the beach resorts of Goa in the south, the film reveals the pervasive culture of drugs and hedonism that leaves some of these young people battling for their sanity. It also offers a look at the efforts by Israelis to rescue them. These appear in the form of ultra-orthodox Chabad houses - where some travellers rediscover their religion, Warm House drop-in centres sponsored by the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority, and people like Helik Magnus, an ex- Mossad agent hired by families in Israel to bring some of the most disturbed backpackers home.

Intense and moving, Flipping Out pulls back the curtain on a dangerous rite of passage for many young Jewish soldiers and reveals one of the largely hidden prices of Israeli occupation and years of war.

2007, 87 min 40 s

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