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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waltz with Bashir

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: Waltz with Bashir is an animated documentary with subtitles about trying to remember being a soldier in the first Israeli-Lebanon war of the early 80s... Have I sold you on it yet?

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: The writer-director, Ari Folman, and a bunch of his friends, therapists, and battle-mates.

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. If you weren't scared off by the parts of the description that mention animation, documentary, subtitles, war, Israel, or Lebanon, then you are probably into highbrow, art movies about serious matters that make you think about what they're trying to say instead of just telling you, and you should absolutely see this movie because you will think it's a masterpiece.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Has Beirut ever been funny?

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: Only if you cry at trivial little things like genocide.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: It won almost all of the Israeli Academy Awards, so it follows that it is Israel's official submission for the foreign language category at the Oscars.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: I was given a program at my screening, which included a director's bio that describes how he went off to travel the world for a year, and after two weeks, he realized he hated traveling, so he settled down in Southeast Asia and spent the rest of the year writing letters to his friends pretending to be in all the different places he was supposed to have gone. His point was that his ability to use his imagination to fabricate these letters was what lead him to decide to become a filmmaker. My point is that I don't buy that this is a documentary. I think the use of animation is the perfect cover-up for the fact that this story and these characters are in part or in whole totally made up. Now that that's been cleared up, I can tell you that the acting is fine.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: The animation is captivating from the first frame to the last.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Another way in which the writer covers up the fact that this story is (allegedly-- according to me) invented and fabricated, is by starting the movie out with a fascinating tid-bit about how the human memory works. One of the characters explains how when the mind can't remember something, it fills in the rest with whatever fits into the parts it remembers. This is then used to justify the fact that all the first person accounts of what supposedly happened in the various battles, 20 years ago, could also be in part or in whole totally made up. That said, the way in which this film examines the faultiness of memory is what I found most intriguing about it.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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