Waltz with Bashir

In Films by Brock Bourgase

Waltz with Bashir, an animated film by Ari Folman, recounts the story of a man trying to recover repressed memories from his time in the army. The film is a study of contrasts: the black and white of the characters compared to the bright colours of the sky, children at play and children serving as child soldiers, the violence of R.P.G. explosions and the loud sounds of rock music, vibrant young people in a club and a dead child in a pile of rubble, the 2-D animation and the emotion of the live video footage shown the conclusion of the film.

As a young person, Folman witnessed the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps but has no memories of the event. He visits his former comarades and tries to piece together his memory. After hearing their individual stories, Folman finally remembers what happened. The massacre by Lebanese Christian Phalangist militias was one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century and Folman uses live footage to convey the intensity of his memories.

Like many other war movies, Waltz with Bashir illustrates the absurdity of war: Israeli soldiers fighting over who can use which weapon, a young Folman wishes for his own death so he can make his ex-girlfriend feel bad, a war correspondent walking through a firefight and ignoring the flying bullets. It is a short film that provides a meaningful experience. Animated films like this or Persepolis have become more popular lately because they can be visually extravagant and still affect the emotions of the audience. ****