Waltz with Bashir (2008)

05Oct09

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“Pray and shoot!” – Ari Folman

Instead of using rotoscoping, an animation style that uses drawings over live footage, director Ari Folman uses a technique that combines Adobe Flash cutouts, 3D technologies and classic animation. Each drawing was sliced into hundreds of pieces to coordinate movement, creating the illusion of action. This would explain why the film took about four years to complete. The result is a stunning achievement in animated film. The images and colors are gorgeous, a beautiful world created to tell a tragic tale.

“Waltz with Bashir,” follows a man who has vague memories of partaking in the Lebanon War of 1982 when he was 19 years old. After meeting an old friend from his infantry and talking of that war, he decides to track down his other comrades from that time and piece together his past, coming to terms with something that has been buried in his mind. During this journey of discovery, he begins to peel back the layers of forgotten events, hidden by his subconscious, questioning the psychology of traumatic events. When his memories are finally uncovered, this leads to his discovery of the tragic Sabra and Shatila massacre and his role during it.

Folman uses punk music effectively from that time period to reflect the unrest and despair felt by the youth, their future ravaged by war. The original soundtrack contrasts effectively of minimalist electronica, haunting and clean.  Along with the music and the eye popping animation, we are seduced into this world of war. The characters easily convey their emotions, their expressions enhanced by unique visions, the power of the imagination unhindered. During the night of the massacre, the flares in the sky create a golden sunlight, warm and inviting, while human slaughter is taking place. Only when they’re finished, does darkness truly fall.

Folman’s film are a string of events that actually happened to him. It’s a documentary on his voyage of self discovery, digging out a memory he had unconsciously buried. The uncovered tragedy is heart breaking and his decision to use animation brilliantly heightens the experience. An unforgettable vision.

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