I went to see the Israeli animated documentary feature "Waltz With Bashir" (Vals Im Bashir) last night. The autobiographical film was written and directed by Ari Folman, with illustration and art direction by David Polonsky.
It is a powerful piece of filmmaking, and I hope everyone reading this blog post will go out and support it, if it's still playing in a theater where you live. Given the escalation of conflict in Gaza this weekend, the film's message seems all the more timely and poignant.
I couldn't help but think as I was watching last night (in a mostly empty art-house theater on the other side of town) that this captures what the young Israeli soldiers must be experiencing right now, and what the Palestinians in Gaza must be experiencing, as well.
Waltz is about memory. It's a story about conflict trauma and PTSD. It's a story about how the responsibility for atrocities tends to be passed from one set of hands to another, never resting, and how the impact of violence is also passed down, never resting. It's a story about what combatants on both sides have in common: we are human beings.
Here are some stills from the movie. Here are higher-quality trailers on Apple. Here are some of the critics' reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. When the DVD comes out, I am buying it, and buying copies for friends.
PS: Wiley Wiggins told me on Twitter last night that Folman's next project is an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's book The Futurological Congress . That oughta be amazing. Incidentally, Waltz reminded me a lot of the film through which I first became aware of Wiley Wiggins' work, too.
Below: Speaking of the power of memory — for me, hearing this great OMD song again, in this context, was potent. I loved that band, and was happy to see them included the film's '80s-heavy soundtrack.