Waltz with Bashir (2008)

A mix between animation, documentary, and war drama, this Israeli film is something uniquely different and remarkable. Filmmaker Ari Folman interviews fellow veteran servicemen from Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon in hopes of jogging his memory. He has blocked out the painful memories of war but his mind is reawakened as he reexamines the truth about the conflict and eventual massacre of Lebanese Arabs. Folman utilizes a rotoscope style of animation, which gives it a heightened reality and an intoxicating painterly beauty. He also takes advantage of the fact that atrocities can be easier to stomach when presented through the barrier of tasteful animation. However, it will be hard to keep from being affected (a scene of dying horses got to me bad). The realms of reality, fantasy, nightmare, and memory can crash together in fascinating ways, and eventually the movie transforms outright into a full-fledged documentary that melts away any last obstacle of empathy, ending with real disturbing footage of the massacre’s aftermath. Waltz with Bashir does not come with an agenda in tow, which allows the movie to explore the ambiguities of being young, nationalistic, confused, and armed in a hostile land. Folman is trying to peel away at the unbiased truth of the matter and cleanse his curiosity and, perhaps, his conscience. His filmic journey to that elusive and painful truth is a movie that crosses cultures and redefines what a documentary can be.

Nate’s Grade: A


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on August 7, 2009, in 2008 Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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