Waltz with Bashir (2008) – The Past Won’t Forget Us

“Waltz with Bashir” is a greeting of peace to the whole world. It tells of the experience of the director, Ari Folman, a former Israeli soldier during the Lebanese war in 1982. With the autobiographical concept of documentary surrealism, the film has a lot of background. One of the best we know is the massacre of Sabra and Shatila by a Christian militia. Ari Folman, now a filmmaker, is trying to recover his lost memory fragments by interviewing his fellow soldiers. He interviewed eight people and each story had its strengths. In short, firsthand, this film takes the viewpoint of the Israeli army after the incident. However, it doesn’t leave the fact this film has many satirical, provocative, and propaganda messages. It’s not the case.

Simply put, Folman reconstructed the event of the Palestinian massacred according to his view is the premise. Not to mention, at the end of the movie, we see the real footage of the death inhumanely. “Waltz with Bashir” is about an underlooked details, how much we can miss in such an event. It opens with Folman, in a bar, interviewing one of his friends. Alternately, he met other friends. They have their own stories to tell in real or surrealist form. It’s like the Rashomon effect, various views argue what exactly, the purpose of the massacre, and the invasion of Lebanon.

The best way to tell what this movie is about is the trademark and animation. The movie reconstructs documentary and animation into weird shapes yet dark. There is a dark comedy as well on the side of Folman trying to unite his memories. There is fantasy, hallucinations in war, struggle, the past, the present, and the future. Although the movie conveyed its story throughout the documentary, feels like this isn’t a documentary. Regarding the real footage at the end of the movie, Folman rearranged their memories into a mystery. However, on the other hand, this film contains the views of the characters about the event. What’s the aftermath?

“Waltz with Bashir” is great in terms of its rotoscoping animation. It’s like they trace every frame using Adobe Flash in a modern program of Paint Tool SAI. Yeah, I’m sorry with the one. In one scene, there are so many pieces of the screen. Such a way as to produce an illusion of motion like animation in general. In its production, they first took the recordings. Second, they rewrote the storyboard from more than thousands of first illustrations of the form. Finally, they used rotoscoping after more than four years of work. In other words, It’s like a moving painting or I could just say a moving comic strip.

I don’t want to talk much about politics. Especially, if it’s just too sensitive when talking about Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. In Middle Eastern countries, this film is nothing. Many communities in Lebanon oppose and display this film in private. Until finally, the pirated widely circulated and known by many people. “Waltz with Bashir”, regardless of the beautiful yet realistic animation, is not really about propaganda or provocative. It’s giving us information and background of the incident in Lebanon.

The movie is similar to “Persepolis” about the struggle of the director during the Islamic revolution. However, it’s also hard to say or to convince people so they can watch this film. Yeah, you know what I mean, right? Yet, in terms of retrospective, I can say this film takes two perspectives: the Israeli army and the victims, uniquely; regardless of the movie takes more from Israel’s point of view, I mean, that’s the point I guess.

It’s really hard to say this movie changed my view of Israel, the event, or others. At this moment, we just had to see the biggest effect on the reflection; not only to judge why they are pulling the triggers or how much they play as the victim. I started to get into the red zone but I think I just stopped. While the debate and the conflict continue and would continue, we don’t know when this would stop. To conclude, there is no wrong or right in war according to this movie. “Waltz with Bashir” is a fundamental and surrealist experience in such a human itself. We don’t know when we stop but we also never know when we start seeing the little details.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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