Friday, February 20, 2009

war-time comic-book consciousness

An edited version of this capsule was published in the Volume 69, Issue 22 of the Fulcrum. —D.D.

Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
*** (A Must-See)

Ari Folman’s, animated documentary Waltz with Bashir (2008) is about his personal recollections of his involvement in the Israeli Army during the Lebanon War of 1982. The film is split between the present and the past as Ari Folman remembers his forgotten experience in the war after conversing with a veteran who is being haunted by a recurring dream. The dream has a ghostly quality as 26 raving dogs run threw the streets instilling chaos and then looking up at his apartment and barking. The story is multifaceted which suits the subject of war and the different perspectives tries to organize the impenetrable issues of war. The present is filled with civilian reflection of memories and moral stances of their invasion. While the re-creation of being at war show the individual’s alienation and fear. The stories are overtly over-the-top including a soldier getting left on a beach and swimming back to his troops, a slow-motion ambush accompanied by a light-hearted tune, a soldier with post-traumatic stress wandering in slow-motion in a fast-forward city and the title derived scene where a soldier shoots chaotically in the town Bashir while waltzing. The animated cinema turns the tall tales into realities and makes them all the more believable instead if it was done through live-action. These individuals are living with the guilt of participating and aiding murder. With the recent re-invasion of Israel in Gaza the anti-war message becomes ever more immediate and instills a cathartic feeling in its ability to denounce war-time violence through comic-book consciousness.-David Davidson

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