Page name: Waltz with Bashir review [Logged in view]
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Waltz with Bashir Tuesday 16th December 2008. The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, UK.
Two people went to see this film. One is an artist, a young highly educated urbanite with an infinite curiosity and a desire to learn as much about everything as possible. The other is a romantic with a dreamworld and a very thin thread that connects her to reality; who lives and experiences every story - book, movie, song, comic - she sees/hears/reads. Being these two people at once is the reason my reaction to this movie is: I really shouldn't have seen this film, but I'm glad I did.
Waltz with Bashir is an animated documentary about a man searching for his memories of the Israel-Lebanon war in '83, in which he fought at age 19. He is simply incapable of remembering those events he took part in, especially the massacre that happened in West Beirut. Slowly, through interviews and conversations the pieces begin to come together, as he (re)constructs his truth of what happened and starts to accept it and come to terms with his involvement in the war.
War is always impossible to describe well: the view is always askew, blurred or distorted; too general or specific; or biased. Waltz with Bashir falls under too specific, as it is very personal. But fortunately this movie isn't telling us about the war, it's telling a story. And what a story it is. And the story is all the more heightened by the medium of animation. The style is realistic but highly exaggerated and simplified. It's beautiful. There is something about the drawn image that talks to me more than the photographic image, especially in case of violent imagery of war. It makes me think of the manga Son of Hiroshima, which is a very realistic manga about Hiroshima during World War II -times, with the obvious ending of dropping the atom bomb -- and the drawings of the victims in that manga is still ingrained to my mental eye, still causing pain. But it is the important kind of pain that teaches important lessons to the soul, and it is what Waltz with Bashir also did.
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