Persepolis and Waltz With Bashir, released one year apart, provided the perfect one-two sucker punch to those who strongly believed animation movies are only for kids. While being told over a drink by an old friend of a recurring nightmare, Ari Folman, the movie’s director, suddenly realizes that memories of his military service during Israel’s war with Lebanon in 1982 are sketchy at best. Made in the form of a semi-documentary, what follows is a recapitulation of the disturbing events in an attempt to recover his lost memory. Right from the stunning opening sequence of 26 vicious dogs running through the streets, till the grim climax (though, in my opinion, the actual war footage could have been done without), the movie never ceases to enthrall. The arresting visuals – brilliant, heavily stylized artwork accentuated by bright, mesmerizing palettes – managed to juxtapose with amazing ease a sense of immediacy (of the on-field violence) with striking hallucinatory imagery (as a reaction to the characters’ memories of those events). The haunting and deeply surrealistic narrative has been superbly aided by an equally effective soundtrack. Waltz With Bashir is a truly unique and unforgettable piece of work.
Director: Ari Folman Genre: Animation/Docu-Fiction/War Drama/Psychological Drama/Avant-Garde/Experimental Language: Hebrew Country: Israel