When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters--an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire--to rescue him.
One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images.Written by
Contrary to common perception, there is no rotoscope work in this film. The production team did shoot live action footage, but this was then used as references for the film's storyboards. The storyboards were then redrawn as digital paintings, which were manipulated with Flash animation. See more »
When Ori grabs a cup on his kitchen table, his thumb goes straight through instead of clasping around it (error in animation). See more »
After the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, I lost my memory. Now in order to remember, I am looking for those who can never forget.
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Haunting psychological exploration of a soldiers guilt
Although I saw it last night I am still unsure of my reaction to "Waltz with Bashir". I'm still digesting the film, attempting to understand more about it, still wondering if I found it remarkable or disappointing, if I thought its moral sensibilities were sound or superficially apologetic. Perhaps the ultimate irony in the film is that its main themes are those of willful ignorance and of amnesia, or willing repression of memories by the Israeli soldiers on whom the film focuses, but, as pointed out by the great film critic Joumane Chahine (who loved the film) in Film Comment: "It's not that Folman minimizes Israel's complicity in the events, the IDF's logistical involvement has long been a matter of record... The film's more individual perspective justifies circumventing the matter. But the film's discreet arrogance is that, in contrast, it confronts head-on the brutality of the Lebanese Christian Phalanges who perpetrated the butchery. And while the Arabs' treatment of their Palestinian 'brethren' has hardly been exemplary, there is something particularly distasteful- somehow akin to watching a German film about Vichy France's treatment of Jews during World War II- about being lectured on this by the Israelis."
I did find this attitude highly ironic. The Israeli soldiers, the men he actually knew, are all, bar none (except for defence minister Ariel Sharon, who unquestionably was responsible at least in part for the proved massacre of anywhere between two to three and half thousand civilians of all ages and genders, and his presence also ties in with the theme of amnesia- after the massacre hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in protest of the IDF's involvement thanks to Sharon's decisions, but many years later they allowed him to become Prime Minister), sweet, good, morally perfect people. Yet the Christians are portrayed almost literally as dogs. Inhuman, brutal, violent, sick, and fetishistic with regard to their leader. The film makes a huge deal about the dead children and older men and women the soldiers saw in the camps, but Ari Folman doesn't even seem to think about the women, children, and seniors killed in air strikes and even ground initiatives by the IDF during the same war. Somehow, only what the Arab Christians did is truly horrifying. A little hypocrisy at play, or is it a matter of even more suppressed memories?
All that said, I still found the film affecting, and its technical merits are unquestionably outstanding. The animation is gorgeous, the music even more special, and the film is a remarkable, rare exploration of how the guilt and pain these men feel to this day haunts them. It's not new subject matter, but the specifics of this film make it unique, that it focuses on the IDF's involvement in one of the most heinous massacres of the late twentieth century, and moreover that it focuses on involvement by young men who wouldn't have even been sure of what exactly was happening. The film's psychoanalytic approach (it is an 'animated documentary', but I suspect much of it was written, although I'm sure those interviewed were definitely quoted truthfully at many points, but what they say is a little too conveniently attached to the film's themes) is not always successful, and sometimes painfully obvious and tired ("You weren't thinking of these camps, but those camps" or "Unwillingly, you had stepped into the shoes of a Nazi"). Still, the imagery and music, as well as the genuine sincerity and honesty of the film (as well as its subjectivity) make it worthwhile viewing. It's extremely well-crafted and for the most part psychologically interesting, that much is for sure. It's also worth noting that the controversial ending worked for this viewer. Not cheap, not exploitative, but only a stark, brutal reminder of just how real it was.
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