Thursday, 18 May 2017

World Cinema: Waltz with Bashir (2008) Film Review

Fig 1. Film Poster
Waltz with Bashir is a 2008 Israeli animated film directed by Ari Folman. It tells the story of Folman and his experiences after trying to recover his memories as a soldier in the Lebanon War in 1982, and presents the shocking reality of war and it's aftermath.

Waltz with Bashir tells several different experiences from the Lebanon War, in a very documentary, auto bibliographical way, with the style similar to that of a comic book or graphic novel style, with thick black lines, and simple but detailed illustrative-like designs of characters which fit the more shocking and serious themes and genre of the film. This style is used by the director Folman to recreate his memories and dreams from the war, and what is interesting is that the director had not done animation prior to making this film, as he was a documentarian, which explains why this animation film is like a documentary, and this format allows for the serious subjects to be taken seriously, compared to other animated films which are for entertainment for children and should not be taken lightly as 'just' an animated film.

Fig 2. Film still
Throughout Waltz with Bashir the topics of the reality of war is frequent throughout the film. It is incredibly serious and emotional, especially in the reoccurring dream sequence which accompanied by a musical score which emphasises the importance of the scene, of bombs dropping down upon buildings. Many scenes involve death of both soldiers and innocents in quite graphic detail involving blood and screams, but not too graphic so that it does not undermine the impactful ending to the film.
The ending to the film is the most shocking part of the film, which reiterates the point that this animation was in fact from real life experiences. It shows real life footage of the wreckage of a city, with women crying and screaming in turmoil as the walk around the crumbled buildings, with bodies lying crumpled and lifeless under the rubble, and falls upon several bodies, showing their faces of men and women, and falls upon a child laying face up in the sand and brick.

Fig 3. The reality of war
Waltz with Bashir is an emotionally shocking film, which a documentary format to the animation to recreate how the event of the war is real, and the aftermath is too indeed real with the death of innocents and soldiers, with the lasting effects upon those who survived the war. The style of the animation suits the medium for discussing war and death, as if it was entirely reconstructed with actors and such it may turn many viewers off to not finish watching the film, but by using this comic book style invites more people to watch without dealing with too graphic blood and gore etc, which allows for the reality of the situation at the end of the film to be even more impactful and meaningful.

Illustration List:
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