Waltz with Bashir
Posted by worriedlebanese on 27/06/2008
When you watch such a film with a group of Lebanese, you expect a heated debate when you exit from the theatre. Among the little group I was with, I was the only one to appreciated it (it’s not really one of those films you can enjoy). Most of the people I know disliked it because they found it biased, inaccurate, cold, arrhythmic.
I personally found it thought provoking and disquieting. I really appreciated it’s basic themes (war and memory, and how you deal with them) and most of all the writer’s approach to his personal memory of the war.
I couldn’t understand why most of my countrymen who had seen “Waltz with Bashir” only focused on how the film treated the responsibility for the Sabra-Shatila massacre. And they felt that it cleared the Israelis completely of it. This criticism seems to me ill-deserved. This cartoonumentary (cartoon/documentary) isn’t about the massacre or anyone’s responsibility in it. It’s about a person who is trying to undertand why he has no memory of his participation in the “First Lebanon War” (except one image – that is featured here – which turns out to be false).
The film brought me back to my recollection of the Israeli invasion of Beirut: the way I watched the bombing of Beirut from the balcony, my first encounter with the israeli military, how Sharon’s convoy blocked our car… Scattered images. I had trouble sleeping that night, and that wasn’t because of the real images of the massacre that Ari Folman shows at the end of his film, but because of me and my countrymen’s incapacity to deal with the war and our memory of it.