Reading that the movie received many accolades, including the Golden Globe for Foreign Film made me curious about ‘Waltz with Bashir‘. I have just finished watching the movie, and it was like being punched in the stomach. The movie is a semi-documentary movie about the director’s journey (Ari Folman) to recover his memory about what happened in Sabra and Shatila and what his role was in the massacre. The massacre took place in retaliation for the assassination of the president of Lebanon at that time, Bashir Gemayel, a Christian. The film is unusual because it’s predominantly animated, except for the last couple of minutes. However, telling the story through serious animation actually makes the movie deliver its message stronger … the viewers won’t be distracted with the sights of blood and severed limbs. The animation was also clever that the emotions of the characters can still be felt clearly. There was one scene when one of the characters was shaking his leg, spending his nervous energy before calling Arik Sharon to enquire about the massacre.
The movie made me learn a little bit more about the complexities of the war in the Middle East – the Palestinians, Christian Phalangists, the Israeli forces, and no doubt recent wars are even more complex with Hamas, etc, etc. You learn that truly in wars, there are no victors – even those who survive have to live with the ghosts. As you go deeper into what really happened, pointing your finger to who was right and who was wrong became much harder.
It’s quite an unusual movie and it may not attract you to see it – but when it comes out at the cinema, go and see it. One of the best films I’ve watched in the last two years.