Waltz With Bashir * * * * 1/2

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Director: Ari Folman.
Screenplay: Ari Folman.
Voices: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Shmuel Frenkel, Zahava Solomon, Ori Sivan, Dror Harazi.

The Israel & Palestine conflict never makes an easy topic for discussion and tends to bring passionate opinions to the surface. As a result, it’s difficult for anyone approaching the subject. Here, however, we are given a film that wisely doesn’t address the politics of the conflict, choosing instead to focus more on the atrocity and brutality of war.

On realising he has no memory of serving in the Israeli Army during the First Lebanon War in 1982, Ari Folman tracks down his old buddies to hear their stories of the conflict, and try to solve the mystery of his own psychological blindspot.

Thanks in large to it’s strikingly powerful artwork, this is a documentary that’s one of the most original of it’s kind. It consists of a serious of investigative interviews with director and war veteran Folman and his comrades who served with him during the conflict. Like the stories they relate, the interviews are also included in the animation and had this been done otherwise this may not have held our interest as much as it does. It helps bind the film into a coherent and visually stunning experience. Having served as an Israeli soldier, Folman wisely doesn’t justify his actions – if anything he abhors them. As he pieces the stories together, the revelation of his deep rooted memories are harrowing and it’s no wonder he developed temporary amnesia. He psychologically blocked his memories due to the atrocities and sheer brutality of the massacre – that he was involved in – of Palestinian men, women and children. Despite, this heavy subject matter, amidst the backdrop of war and barbarism, there are still many scenes of such power and surreal beauty.

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Deservedly Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language film, this is a provocative, gruesome and visually stunning movie, that captures an eerie and haunting feel throughout. Within it’s shocking delivery, it carries a very important anti-war message while echoing the work of Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” or Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”. Absolutely superb and quite unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

Mark Walker

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34 Responses to “Waltz With Bashir * * * * 1/2”

  1. Never heard of this one, Mark. I don’t even recall it being nominated for the Oscar to be honest. Definitely on my radar now though. Nice review bud.

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    • It’s a great movie Chris. Film 4 have shown it a few times so keep your eyes peeled.

      Yeah, it was omitted from the best Animation category but made it into best Foreign Language. Powerful stuff yet very beautifully done.

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  2. Nice review. I’ve been meaning to check this out for a while.

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  3. Heard of this one, but haven’t seen it, Mark. I may check it out. Thanks.

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  4. Doesn’t sound like my type of movie…

    Speaking of movies that aren’t my type, you know I’m not a big fan of Mafia / Mob movies. That new one with De Niro coming out looks good!

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  5. Awesome review! πŸ™‚

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  6. Great movie and great review. I need to revisit this one.

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  7. I agree that this doc is one of the most original ever made. It’s beautiful, it’s heart-wrenching, and it’s better than so many other films. Great review, Mark.

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    • Much obliged my man. Glad to hear you’re a fan. It really is something else. Air Folman, the director, has a new film out this year called The Congress with Harvey Keitel and Robin Wright. Looks as if it could be good.

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  8. Great review Mark! I’ve been curious about this one for some time, now your review makes me want to see it real soon. “…wisely doesn’t address the politics of the conflict, choosing instead to focus more on the atrocity and brutality of war.” Glad to hear, the politics are so complicated and more often, there’s two sides to everything. Interesting to see it in an animated feature, too.

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    • Thanks Ruth! It’s certainly deserving of attention and the animation gives the story of Ari Folman a whole new life. It allows him to depict his personal experiences that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. It’s brilliant stuff.

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      • Yeah that’s what I figure, some scenes are probably too difficult to do in live action films so in a way the animation actually gives the filmmakers more freedom to tell their story. Great stuff!

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  9. Nice choice, Mark, and I agree… this is a powerful, visually stunning film. Its a great argument for animation as an artistic medium. There’s so many times when people just relegate it to kids movies… 😦 This is a great flick. Nice review.

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  10. Yep, quite agree mate. Great review. Your Blood Simple review goes live today by the way πŸ™‚

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  11. I want to see this as much as you wanted see my last review, NO ONE LIVES πŸ™‚

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  12. Nice job here Mark, and thank you for bringing this one to my attention. I will definitely be on the look out for this now!

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  13. Great write up Mark, one of those films that I had heard about then never got around to watching. Thanks for reminding me to check it out it sounds very intriguing.

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