Friday, December 25, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

*Animation*Hebrew*2008*85m*Ari Folman*

Centers around a genocide of  Palestinians which took place in 1982 in the course of the Lebanon War. The director participated in this war. Later on, when he encountered a fellow soldier, he finds that he has no memory of these events, even though he was a participant. He sets out on an investigation, searching out others who witnessed the invasion, and joins together fragments of the story into a complete picture.

The point is the ability of our mind to erase that which we would rather forget, and the question of the responsibility. Like murder these things are done behind draperies and the details rarely emerge into public knowledge. A chain of  decision making is involved, from orders, or acquiescence, explicit or otherwise, to execution of plan or intention. Responsibility is divided and diluted, and memory does it's part in forgetting and distorting.

The movie is an essay on war. It succeeds in depicting the background of such barbarous acts. It is certainly strongly anti-war. It shows how human passivity may ultimately be the cause which allows the unthinkable to become a reality.

The final footage of the wailing women is a powerful image which portrays the human dimension of war, which  women are perhaps biologically better qualified to understand.

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