Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Film Club Waltzes

We were missing Dong, Shazzerooneypoos and Slocombe on Sunday, all of whom had carousing to some degree or other to be getting on with. So Frankenkeith joined something of a minor family gathering as we had the Wizzers of Soz and Dozybean with us to make up the numbers.

Soon enough, the lights were dimmed and Ari Folman's award winning animation drew us in.
Folman was an Israeli soldier in 1982 when he was unwittingly and peripherally involved in a massacre of civilians carried out by Christian Phalangists. This film tells the story of how he tries to accurately remember what occurred, speaking to fellow veterans and old friends along the way with much of the action in flashback form.
The graphics are startlingly well executed, with some of the close up shots of "talking heads" being so animatedly realistic that one has to think the technique involved conducting the interview in real life and then superimposing the animated image over the real one.Needless to say, the war scenes are brutal and harrowing, but never gratuitous. In a strange way the fact that the film is animated rather than live action creates a greater impact; it reeks of Apocalypse Now and of adult graphic novels and is certainly not for the faint hearted.The final scenes in particular stab deeply into the audience's conscience; how can we allow such things to happen? How can supposedly democratic governments simply pretend it's not something to do with them? At its close the film briefly and with an almost sickening finality segues from animation into archive footage of the results of the Phalangists' atrocity. It left us rather quiet for a while as the image faded to black.A fascinating, intelligent and very adult film (no watching this with kiddies around, don't be fooled by the "cartoons"). It deals with trauma, post-trauma, memory loss, humanity and the lack of same; it asks some very big questions - what is normality when you've lived through such wildly abnormal things? As this is so autobiographical, does Folman have another film of quality in him? What does it matter? This is a grand monument to an intelligence beaten and twisted by horror.

The film club scale: No Dong - no fag break; no Shazzerooneypoos - no wufflings; no Slocombe - no unintended double entendres (we've been missing you, Slokes); Frankenkeith seemed impressed; Mrs The Millbrooker found it very powerful; Dozybean was in floods of blubbing; The Wizzers of Soz only part-watched, but thought the animation was top notch.

Waltz With Bashir - do please see it, it's well worth the effort.

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