Just got back from seeing Waltz with Bashir
. It's a difficult film to describe. I'm tempted to cop out with something flip like, "If you only see one film about war crimes this year, let it be Waltz with Bashir
." Let's just say that when the film was finished, I and the entire (admittedly not very large) rest of the audience sat absolutely motionless through the credits, because after what I'd just seen, I couldn't just get up and walk out into the lobby where people were buying popcorn and Coke.
I feel like I should say something about the film's use of animation, because, let's face it, the only reason why I paid $10 to spend part of my Tuesday night watching a documentary about the 1982 Lebanon war was because I wanted to see how it worked as a cartoon. The short answer is, I think it worked very well - a lot of the film is really about memory, and the tricks one's mind plays to distance oneself from traumatic events. Using animation lets the film slip between the real and surreal in a way that's very fluid. Yet you never feel as if the documentary maker is playing tricks on you by presenting something fake as real, as you might if the film were shot as live action.
It also makes the last couple of minutes of the film, where the director switches to newsreel footage, an absolute punch in the gut.
Definitely worth seeing, though I think I'm going to have to watch a bit of something cheerful before I go to bed, just so images from the film don't haunt me in my sleep.