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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waltz With Bashir DVD Review

Waltz With Bashir - An E1 Films Release


On DVD: August 11th, 2009

Rated 18A

Running time: 9o minutes

Ari Folman (dir.)

Ari Folman (writer)

Max Richter (music)

Ron Ben-Yishai as Himself (voice)

Ronny Dayag as Himself (voice)

Ari Folman as Himself (voice)

Dror Harazi as Himself (voice)

Yehezkel Lazarov as Carmi Cna'an (voice)

Waltz With Bashir - Courtesy of E1 Entertainment

Our reviews below:


Waltz With Bashir DVD Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

In 2006, director Ari Folman met with a friend from the army at a bar. When his friend tells him of the 26 vicious dogs that have been haunting him in his nightmares for over the past two years, Ari Folman starts to remember things from the Lebanon war. The film plays out almost like a mystery as he tries to remember things that his mind has made him forget.

Waltz With Bashir is a haunting, powerful animated masterpiece that will stay with you long afterwards. The stark contrast of it’s disturbing scenes of brutality, and it’s hauntingly beautiful scenes of soldiers walking out of water, set against a backdrop of the rising sun, make for a stunning and fascinating experience.

Waltz With Bashir was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at last years Academy Awards. It lost to the Japanese drama Departures, which I thought was an equally excellent film.

The DVD includes director commentary, a making-of, a Q & A with Ari Folman, and Building The Scenes: Animatics.


Waltz With Bashir DVD Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Waltz With Bashir plays out like a mystery as director/writer Ari Folman tries to remember what happened in Lebanon during his time as a soldier in the war. He becomes haunted by the past he had blocked from his memory many years ago, when a friend shares with him the nightmares he has been having about 26 dogs chasing him from his time in the war. While the subject matter make it at times hard to watch, this is a very real and important film.

The animation style is like a graphic novel, with black outlines around the characters in the present day, but not so much in the past, where things are not clear until the end. The animation style has a very beautiful artistic sense to it, especially the scenes in which the colour palette consists of only black, white, and golden-yellow tones.

This stunning film was nominated at the Academy Awards last year for Best Foreign Film. Departures, a film which I loved, ended up taking home the award. It must have been a tough choice for voting members...

Simply put, this is an emotionally powerful and moving film. This is not a big action movie, but on the contrary, the way the war scenes are executed is done in such a stunning simplicity. It leaves nothing to imagination. These scenes, coupled with the animated interviews are so thought-provoking. By the end of the film, you are left in silence.


Waltz With Bashir DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Waltz With Bashir is a unique documentary based on a series of interviews taped by director Ari Folman in an attempt to reconstruct his lost memories of Israeli military service during the occupation of Lebanon in 1982. When the Christian Phalangist leader Bashir Gemayel was killed, Israeli soldiers surrounded the Palestinian Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and allowed the Phalangists to enter the camp to root out Palestinian fighters. On the third day when met with a small group of wailing women emerging from the camp in panic, the Israelis only then discovered the massacre of the camp’s inhabitants that the Phalangists had carried out. Though Israeli government complicity in the massacre was suspected, the soldiers were completely unaware of it until it was too late, and many suppressed their painful memories, often with the help of alcohol or other drugs.

The film begins with a recurring dream sequence of one of Folman’s buddies where he is being chased to his home by 26 dogs. There is no such thing as Conscientious Objector status in Israel. The only alternative to universal military service is prison. This soldier’s objection to killing humans had been accommodated by his assignment to shoot dogs instead, which still haunted his dreams many years later. With the help of other buddies, including a shrink who attributed Folman’s memory loss in part to the effects of the Holocaust on his family, his unwitting role in the massacre finally becomes clear.

Waltz With Bashir uses a combination of Flash Animation and classic and 3D animation with a comic book or graphic novel look that resembles rotoscoping despite being fully drawn. The often murky images commensurate with challenged memory become increasingly clear, and at the very end are replaced shockingly with real documentary footage. It is a powerful testimony to one of the less admirable moments in the history of Israel, which if not made by one of its own distinguished filmmakers might be condemned by the politically correct as “antisemitic”.


Consensus: Coming Soon! ***2/3 (Out of 4)

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