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Wednesday, December third, 2008

Waltz with Bashir

This movie will be opening in the city at the end of this month. It looks like a really disturbing and meaningful look at conflict in the Middle East (or one subset of such conflict) -- it is a documentary/animated recreation of the massacre at Sabra and Shatila, directed by a man who participated in that massacre as a 19-year-old Israeli Defense Forces soldier. Sebastian, who saw it in Germany, describes it as "devastating."

Jonathan Freedman reviews the film for the Guardian; he calls it "startlingly original" and says, "The effect should be flat, but the low-tech style somehow conveys an emotional depth that catches you by surprise. The characters appear in two dimensions, yet are intensely human." Folman explains to Freedman why he chose animation to create his documentary: "There was no other way to do it, to show memories, hallucinations, dreams. War is like a really bad acid trip, and this was the only way to show that."

posted morning of December third, 2008: Respond
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Friday, December 26th, 2008

Waltz with Bashir opens this week to a rave review from A.O. Scott; Folman was interviewed on NPR today.

posted evening of December 26th, 2008: Respond

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Breakthrough

I watched Waltz with Bashir with clinical detachment, and without understanding that this detachment was an authentic response to how the film was composed -- that the intent was to push the audience away from the events being narrated rather than to pull us in. I was not failing to get into the movie but was understanding Folman's approach to his own lost experience -- wondering about the motivations and reactions of the people talking, "as if watching a movie" as Folman's psychiatrist friend puts it; and was completely surprised, at the end of the film, to find myself sobbing -- this brought me full circle to the very beginning of the movie, where I had been pretty choked up over Boaz' description of the dogs he had to shoot.

I was a little confused by the psychiatrist's assertion early in the film, to the effect that memory can only take us "where we want to go," that there is a human mechanism which prevents us from remembering things that will damage us. This seems wrong to me as a general statement, and counter to my experience. But maybe he had intended it only in the context of the conversation they were having.

posted morning of February 8th, 2009: Respond

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