Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Waltz With Bashir

Weird Dream

Weird Dream


With a title like “Waltz With Bashir,” one may expect a dance documentary or a movie about ballroom dancers, but that was not the case at Ziegfeld Theatre for the New York Film Festival this year. Instead, I was blown away by an animated feature about the 1982 war in Lebanon. It is the personal story of its director, Ari Folman.

            The film begins with the main character having a nightmare of dogs ruthlessly chasing him through the city in the middle of the night. When he relays its details to his veteran friend, he gets no answers to why decades after the war, he is just now being mentally affected. He then goes to his psychologist, who explains the way the mind’s memory works. Ari is told that his mind tries to fills holes in memory by creating its own material to bring a story together. Ari is in turn frustrated by his inability to remember what actually happened during the war, so he travels as far as Belgium on a quest to replace the holes in his memory.

            Not only does Waltz With Bashir combine interview scenes with dream and memory scenes of the subconscious, but this original film also combines the genres of anime and war movies. Despite their cartoonish quality, the characters were realistic depictions of war veterans. Also, I think the medium of the film suits its themes of dreams and the subconscious well and the colors and style of the animation set a drab, gloomy war motif.

            After the initial intensity of the fierce dog scene, Waltz With Bashir depicts the terrors of war with a somewhat subtle approach. The only distraction from the plot I experienced was during the scene in which a military officer was shown watching pornography. It was very graphic, disgusting, and inappropriately long. The end of the film, however, was very dramatic and thought provoking as it took my mind off of any such distraction. I won’t ruin it for anyone, though; I will just leave it up to their own interpretation.