Not normally one for posts dedicated to movie reviews (hell, not really one to post at all nowadays), but I just got back from seeing Waltz with Bashir, and I feel like I need to let something out on the proverbial page else I explode with indigestion.
First off, it's an amazing film, go watch it. For my Yankee friends, I'm not sure when US screening starts, but keep an eye on IMDB or your local listings, it's definitely a film worth going to the movie theatre for.
I spoke of this earlier with curare, there's a quality to Hollywood films in general, which does not skip over Hollywood War films, that makes them... Larger than life. It's not just the silverscreen, but something about them always has an aspect of "epicness".
Israeli war films, in the tradition of Avanti Popolo and Kippur tend to bring it down to the utmost human level. Perhaps you need to be an Israeli for this, but it feels like I could there. This could have been me, in this film.
Waltz with Bashir takes this personal dimension and rolls with it. The film can be described as an animated auto-biographical pseudo-documentary, revolving around the filmmaker Ari Folman's attempt to reconstruct his memory of the events that took place during his service in Israel's first Lebanese War. The filmmaker goes on a personal journey through his distorted hallucinations and half-memories, interviewing people who were there with him, trying to clear his path to the truth of what happened.
The cinematographic choice of making most of the film animated (in a style reminiscent of Linklater's A Scanner Darkly) is brilliant. The overall theme of the film has to do with a distorted, escapist reality and the manner in which we, as human beings, try to deal with a reality that is more distorted than our delusions. The stock film that is used and is not animated, if it were presented in any other context, would be chilling to a degree that it becomes uncanny and unreal. The way in which it is presented left the audience, myself included, in solemn silence. And a single tear.
There's so much more I want to say about the way this movie made me feel, but I simply lack the words. Foremost, though it alludes to the collective subconscious, Waltz with Bashir is a personal film. Thus, I can only conclude that the experience I am going through now, as I try and work out the movie in my head, is a personal one as well. All I can say is that the emotional impact, at least for me, has been enlightening, if a bit overwhelming.
When I left the theatre, I was sure I could never bear to see this film a second time. By the end of writing this post, I think I need to go see it again.