A fine night last night at a funky cinema in Nottingham, to dine finely and then watch Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir. This is a stunning animated film concerning the 1982 Lebanon War, based on the director’s first-hand encounters and experiences, and it also functions as a meditation on memory and trauma.
The fact that it is animated has a powerful effect—it shows the war and experiences as a trippy, surreal collection of images, where dream and reality overlap. The animation almost casually and intimately invites the viewer into some horrific scenes, where otherwise the reality might be too intense. And as a result the images are deeply and worryingly clear for long afterwards.
Trying to piece together his own forgotten experiences in the war, Folman interviews those he fought alongside, or who were at some of the major events in the conflict, notable the massacres at Sabra and Shatila. Gradually, and in a deliberately non-linear way, Folman rebuilds his own role in the conflict, and also the film provides excellent insight into a valuable piece of history and the experience of a soldier. A feel-good film, this is not; but it is very stylish, lucid, and powerful.
Here’s the trailer: