Saturday, December 27, 2008

Movie Review: Waltz With Bashir

Poster posted on Flickr by marzipanrat

Israeli filmmaker,Ari Folman, takes a trip down repressed memory lane with his animated film about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and his unit's role in the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila camps outside Beirut.

In short, nine days before President-elect, Bashir Gemayel was to take office, he was assassinated. In retaliation, the Christian Phalangists (with no objections from the Israeli Defense Forces) entered the Sabra and Shatila camps. Ari Folman's unit fired flares into the night skies to help the Phalagists see their way into the camps. In this attack, the IDF killed 700 to 3,500 Palestinians, many were women and children.

Ari Folman at the New York Film Festival,photo posted by Brooklyn dude on Flickr

This is an excellent film and worthy of seeing on the big screen. Folman shows how the war has impacted his life. Nightmares that haunt him are animated perfectly. I heard Folman interviewed on NPR yesterday. He said the only way to make this film was through animation since it goes back in forth in time and dream sequences. Moreover, he wanted to attract a young as well as older audience. Here is a what he said on NPR:

"For me, it was very essential to bring young audiences to the theaters to watch the film because I thought that if this film could influence even one teenager making the decision not to go the war, it doesn't matter where I did my job, I earned it," Folman says. "All wars are useless … and sometimes in films we tend to glorify them by making all of those great characters and they show you it's all about bravery and brotherhood of man. And I don't believe in that."

Israeli soldiers, posted by Pegg on Flickr

And I do hope that high school kids thinking about joining our military see this film. War is not glorious. Ask anyone who has been in one.

Folman mentions in the interview that his father did not want him to make the film out of fear Israel would never forgive him and he would be ostracized. Surprisingly, Folman said the exact opposite has happened. The politicians and government have welcomed him with open arms.

An animated Ari Folman, posted on Flickr by Pegg

After viewing the film, I thought for sure it must have been met with opposition by the Israeli government. It surely does not paint the Israeli Defense Forces in a sympathetic light. Anyway, go check out this film. And if you want more information on the invasion of Lebanon or assassination of Gemayel, check out Wikipedia. It is a fascinating read. Furthermore, it helps explain what is happening now in the region.
Waltz With Bashir Poster posted by dosXuno on Flickr

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