For me, I can tell when I see a good movie because I wake up the next morning thinking about it.
The other night, I watched an animated film called Waltz with Bashir and sure enough, I woke up thinking about the surreal, sad and sometimes horrifying images.
I'm not sure how Waltz with Bashir ended up on my netflix queue. I tend to go through periods where I request the same type of movie; low brow comedies, documentaries, SciFi, foreign films and I right now I seem to be in a Middle Eastern theme. Who knows why I ended up choosing these type of movies because most of them are deadly depressing and my latest choice is no exception.
Waltz with Bashir tells the story of man who can't recall his memories associated with his younger days as an infantry soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. Determined to find out what happened, he meets with a variety of people who were there with him and these people help put his memories back in place. The story is told mostly in flashback and it culminates in the young man stumbling upon the Shabra and Shatila massacre which really happened in the Beirut refugee camps during the PLO conflicts of 1982.
This is a tough time period to figure out. I'm not sure who was fighting whom, who wanted what, where the borders were and who was in charge or calling the shots. I was a little confused during the movie because of the historical context but overall, it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the movie. Or can I call it enjoyment when the final scenes are a bunch of dead families?
Yes, it is depressing but it is also an amazing piece of work. Taking four years to make, the animation is a mastery of the art and perfectly suited to the haunting scenes of war, isolation and fear. It's no wonder that the film won the Golden Globe for best foreign film and was nominated for an Oscar.
Check it out. It's something different. Educational. Moving. Sad and there is no redemption at the end. The title seems lighthearted but don't let it fool you; it refers to the Lebanese politician who was assassinated. After the movie, you might have a case of PTMD (Post Traumatic Movie Disorder) but let me assure you, it will be worth it.