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Jimmy So
MC / Show Host , Photographer , Author
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Waltz With Bashir

Waltz With Bashir

(director: Air Folman; 2008)

"Waltz With Bashir" is an intriguing groundbreaker. It has been called an animated documentary; it would more appropriately be called a dreamscape painting. The loose plot whirls around director Folman himself, who’s forgotten his experiences in the Lebanon War of 1982, when he was a 19-year-old Israeli infantry soldier. He seeks out old friends in his battalion, asking them to offer what they remember of the invasion. The resulting vignettes consist of reveries, hallucinations, head trips and recollections painted in intoxicating golden hues. Some of the characters are vocally played by actors; some feature the voices of actual participants in the war. But all of the images are surreal illusions—that is, until the tales lure us irrevocably toward the Sabra and Shantila massacres. There we find actual footage and photos of death, execution, rotting bodies and hysterical mothers. The problem with this is that just when I seemed to have taken to the form of documentary animation—just as I was beginning to enjoy the shifting visions—the very last frames, fixed unflinchingly on a revulsive reality, had the same effect on me as if I was yanked off a galloping horse. I was a little peeved that my vulnerability was taken advantage of. Yet I was also thankful that a powerful denouement was forced upon me. Repressed memories? They don’t stand a chance in a world of photography and archival documentation. ♦

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english, cantonese, mandarin
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New York City, United States
Member Since
November 27, 2007