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Monday, 4 May 2009

Waltz with Bashir

The title of the movie refers to a scene in which a soldier goes berserk, firing his good ol' rifle whilst dancing right in the middle of a shoot-out. That scene pretty much synthesizes the feel of the movie; the subject matter is grim but the approach, idyllic. And it does start off with a dream.

Two friends are in a bar. One is telling the other about a recurring dream in which 26 savage dogs try to hunt him down. They were the exact same 26 dogs the man had killed during the 1982 Lebanon war, in which the two comrades had fought together. Ari listens to his friend and realizes he has erased much of the time they were at war from his memory. He keeps having this one specific vision, but he cannot remember anything from it.

He is determined to find out what had happened that night he sees in his vision, and calls upon his veteran friends all around the world. Each one has a story to tell of the terrible war.

This is a brilliantly animated film with documentary value. It mixes reality with surreality as the characters deal with atrocious memories of the past melting into hallucinations and dreams. Although the movie speaks of the horrors of war and the tricks the mind plays on us, it is not a film of graphic violence, except for a few scenes. The fact it is an animation also takes away some of the brutality one expects when watching a war movie. However, the feeling I got after watching this was that much of the wrong involved in a war goes without saying here - you can sense it, but you don't see much of it. And it damn hurts. But this is just the story of a man in search of facts.

Little is known to people of my generation and geographic location about this 1982 Lebanon war. I read it up on wikipedia, and I advise you to do the same. This one war started with an attempt to murder an Israeli ambassador, which lead to the invasion of Southern Lebanon by the Israel Defense Forces in June 1982. We all know Arab/Jewish conflict did not start here, but as you start digging further into this hurtful history, it becomes hard to understand why such and such happened and what lead to what. It is so effing sad.

Anyway, this movie was nominated for a gazillion awards, and got quite a few too. It got raving reviews and an 8.1 out of 10 at IMDb and 96% at Rotten Tomatoes. It is a shame this kind of movie is not mainstream. If you want to see it in Brasília, it's on at 9:30 pm at Deck Norte III, in Lago Norte. Such a shame. Should be on everywhere.

Oh, and you have to be eighteen or over.