Friday, 12 February 2016

Waltz with Bashir Film Review

Fig. 1. Waltz with Bashir poster.

Waltz with Bashir (2008) directed by Ari Folman is an animated quasi-documentary that follows the Folmans attempt to unravel the tragic events that took place one night in September 1982, a massacre of over 300 Palestinian refugees to the hands of Christian militia members. The story revolves around Folman coming to terms with what happened and rekindling his hazy memories of the event. It is a powerful film that deals with sensitive topics around war, it tackles these in a documentary style which makes the film feel more personal and real.

Fig 2. Dream still

The film mixes between dreams and reality frequently which makes it hard to understand where the line is between them, the whole experience feels distorted which could appear to reflect the memory of Folman or memory in general. It appears the film reflects how memory can distort in an attempt to protect us from the truth, Folman in a way is using the film to come to terms with the tragedy that he was very close to, that he in some way had a part of. The aesthetic of the film also mirrors the confused feeling that is expressed in the narrative, the animation overall strengthens the distorted feeling of the film as it goes from a power gold and black coloured dream world to a more gritty real world tragedy as a solider takes a bullet to the neck.

Fig 3. War still

Folman deals with some of the tragedy of war in a beautiful way, scenes that should be completely distressing feel artistic and in a way beautiful to look at. The scene in which a machine gunner dances in the middle of the street shooting at snipers is made to feel very entrancing, the music heightens the overall feeling that is developed by the soldiers dance and this leaves the scene feeling like a work of art as opposed to a tragedy. Folman appears to combat this by displaying his true feelings of war near the end of the film, scenes of innocent people being massacred occur and the overall tone of the film becomes chilling however the most haunting scene is the ending in which live action footage is used, it breaks the distorted aesthetic and ends the film on a disturbing tone, the reality of war and the lack of goodness in the world.

Overall I enjoyed this film, the overall look of the film linked very well with the narrative and it was entrancing to watch. It dealt with deep and painful times which made it feel like a very personal film, Folmans journey to the find his memory was hypnotising each step dealt with difficult times and had an insight to the tragedy of war. The distortion of the film made it interesting to watch as at times it was difficult to tell if this was a dream world or an actual memory. The final scenes leave a haunting memory, a powerful statement that the good of mankind is hard to find.

Illustration list:
Figure 1. Waltz with Bashir poster. (2008) From: Waltz with Bashir, Directed by: Ari Folman [Film still] At:
Figure 2. Dream still. (2008) From: Waltz with Bashir, Directed by: Ari Folman [Film still] At:

Figure 3. War still. (2008) From: Waltz with Bashir, Directed by: Ari Folman [Film still] At:

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