Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Waltz with Bashir is an undeniably tragic story, even mildly morbid piece of history spun in such a way that entertains the mind, opens the eyes, and leaves you wondering how war can look so pretty and be so painful. The piece opens with an intensely strong scene of wild dogs running the streets of a city in Lebanon, then leads you into the story of Ari Folman’s journey to uncover a memory that has been lost for over 30 years and in doing so walks you directly into a dream state of the terror that these seemingly fictional characters have all been suffering from since passing of the event.

Throughout the piece it is hard to discerning between the cartoony characters on the screen and the depth of tragedy in the stories being told. Hypnotic animation and mentally challenging colors draw you in and give the feeling that you are listening to some distant horrors from a door cracked at the end of a long, cold, half lit hallway. Seeing the artistic display of Lebanon and life in the middle east cut with scenes from the tragic realities of the war, leaves a strange connection with what we know about how war has shredded through towns and lives of the people that lived it and what we don't. Building on the filmmaker’s interest in solving his mental block from lost events, he goes on to uncover old comrades and well studied therapist who guide him gently through the process. Edited with action scenes and conversations that are pieced together seamlessly with music, it gives both the retelling and the undoing in one bite and finds a way to drift past your inhabitations about the Middle East and open your eyes to some of the realities.

In the end, the therapy not only assists in aiding the life of the filmmaker and those involved, it also reaches out and touches the audience with a smack of reality that wakes you up to the sound of war as a form of resolution. As it comes to its end you are left with what resides within the minds of those who served, understanding better why for them it’s left as a distant memory down a long hallway in the form of a cartoon, and look within yourself for the people you pass that may have been in that place.

I encourage and hope you take the time to watch this and form your own opinions and if you do feel free to comment or email your thoughts to me.


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  1. you just like his beard walton.

  2. Although I am a proponent of the public library system, I was a bit surprised when I requested this movie and found out that there were over 40 people in que before me. I had all but forgotten about the request until last week when I received an email from the library that Watlz with Bashir was available. I found it even more ironic that it appeared in the Red Box just yesterday! To my enjoyment, he wait was well worth it. I found this documentary unique in that I had never seen a fully animated story line. I found, as you noted Barry, that the cartoon style drew a representation of distance and separation. It was also interesting how the animation hinted toward more realistic images as the filmmaker became closer to remembering the horrific events that occurred. In addition, I also felt that the animation re-enforced the youthfulness of the soldiers and their reckless obedience. It is an eye opening piece that helped me grow in the understanding of what many victim/participants of war are dealing with and helped me understand some things about own journey as well.