Thursday, 15 May 2008

Cannes 2008: Waltz With Bashir

"Ari Folman's animated documentary could easily turn out to be one of the most powerful statements of this Cannes and will leave its mark forever on the ethics of war films in general," writes Screen's Dan Fainaru of competition entry Waltz With Bashir. "Dealing from a very personal point of view with the Israeli incursion into the Lebanon in 1982 and culminating with the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacre, which the Israelis did not perpetrate but surely tolerated, this is not only a tremendously potent anti-war movie but also a formidable moral indictment of Israeli conduct at that time."

"A subject that might, had it been made conventionally, have repped just another docu about a war atrocity, is transmuted via novel use of animation into something special, strange and peculiarly potent in Waltz With Bashir," says Variety's Leslie Felperin. "Israeli helmer Ari Folman's fourth feature spotlights a drawn version of Folman himself on a quest to remember what transpired during the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon where he served as a soldier. Although less immediately accessible than Persepolis, another mature-aud-skewed cartoon with which this is bound to be compared, Bashir could dance nimbly round arthouse niches offshore."

"Waltz With Bashir is animator Ari Folman's ingenious attempt to bear witness to an atrocity committed during his stint in the Israeli army," writes Xan Brooks in The Guardian. "Bedevilled by false memories and mental blocks, Folman opted to interview as many participants as he could round up and then converted their testimonies into a rotoscope cartoon, replete with dream sequences and dramatic reconstructions, homing in on the 1982 slaughter of Palestinian civilians by the Christian militia in Lebanon. Stylistically, the film has the woozy, weightless intensity of Richard Linklater's Waking Life, while it circles its central horror in the same mercurial, questioning manner adopted by Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five. Waltz With Bashir is an extraordinary, harrowing, provocative picture. We staggered out of the screening in a daze."

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