31 Mar 2011

Waltz With Bashir - Ari Folman - Film

I love animated films because they are like being inside someone else's memory or imagination.  Just like Persepolis, this film gives a unique perspective on real events and provides you with a better taste for them than any news article or text book could.  Animations are bright, exaggerated and not realistic, but so is one's memory at times.  Memories do not just consist of events, they consist of colours, noises, smells and a whole host of other senses, thoughts and feelings.  You might even say that memories themselves are animated.

This film is a true account of Ari Folman interviewing people he fought along side with during the first Lebanon war.  He realises he cannot remember that time, but his one vague memory from a specific moment involves someone who denies being there.  He is intrigued to try and clarify his memory, especially since another friend has not forgotten any of the 26 dogs he had to silence all those years ago - they have been haunting him in his sleep every single night.  The film cuts between present day and flashbacks, and dreams and exaggerated memories.

The beautiful animation is sharp, crisp and metallic, and the use of colour sets the mood for each scene.

As Folman digs deeper into the memories of others, it becomes clear how mechanically they had to act during the war, but how vivid and almost hallucinatory their memories are.  When discussing his lack of memory with a friend Folman learns that memories can be fabricated and altered, even invented from scratch.

The film reached a point when I thought Folman would never get his memory back, but just before the end of the film the penny drops as he interviews a journalist.  I won't spoil the ending for you, it's very powerful if it's unexpected.  So powerful that it had me shedding a tear or two!