Tuesday, July 10, 2012

18. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

In the past two posts I have focused on animation movies, Persepolis which was based on a comic and the Grave of the Fireflies based on a book.  Waltz with Bashir, the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated Israeli movie on the War of Lebanon 1982 is an animated film which became a graphic novel, published in 2009. I found this interesting since I wasn't sure which came first.  

According to the film website the synopsis of the film is as follows:  One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari Folman about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs.  Every night, the same number of beasts.  The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties.  Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life.  Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world.  He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself.  As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images... at http://waltzwithbashir.com/film.html 

The use of music in the film is worth looking out for.  The title of the film comes from Chopin's Waltz in C sharp minor.  The film also features electronic music such as Enola Gay (about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima).

Influenced in part by Slaughterhouse 5 (mentioned briefly in a previous post) and by the comics medium, in particular the works of Joe Sacco, the film is a unique portrait into the post-traumatic stress faced by Israeli soldiers of the 1982 war.  A war which led to the massacre of an estimated 3,000 persons following the retaliation of the Philangists for the murder of Bashir Gemayel.

Considered to be one of the best movies of 2008, winning numerous awards and nominated for an Oscar (not as an animation but as best foreign language film), the film is a must for those interested in the study of war and film and as background to the current Israeli/Palestine conflict..

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