Friday, June 26, 2009

Film Review

For whatever reason, I always find myself at Blockbuster when I'm feeling lazy and wanting to just sit down and enjoy a movie. The downside to this is that I tend to rent crappy Hollywood movies that attempt to give me some cheap laughs or scares. Perhaps if I rented movies when in a good mood, I might be better off. All this aside, I found an amazing film that everyone should see (for numerous reasons). It's an animated Israeli film by Ari Folman called "Waltz with Bashir". It's the (mostly) true story of Ari's experience as a 19 year-old during the First Lebanese War (ca. 1982). The film's culminating aspect, and thematic plot point, is the massacre of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in the Beirut refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila. I was not at all familiar with these massacres until viewing this film, and I'm sad to say that this is just another awakening to me of how disgusting the human race can be to itself. Here I'm reminded of John F. Kennedy, when he said:
"Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind."
Ari Folman, in the film, does not remember what happened or where he was during the massacre; but he continues to have a dream that prompts him to ask those people he knew to be there at the time what role, if any, he played in the events leading up to, and including, the massacre. As it turns out, his role was an indirect one: he, along with his IDF unit, continuously fired flares into the air throughout the night, allowing for the Lebanese Phalangist militiamen to slaughter men, women, and children. The death tolls are extremely inconclusive, with some reports saying as little as 328 or as many as 3,500 murdered.

Further adding to the film's robustness is its animation and soundtrack. Both elicit a certain aesthetic quality to an otherwise disgusting story of humanity. However, one must remember that this is not a work of self-hatred, or any, for that matter. This film very subtly gets to the core of the human struggle: we're not perfect. There is genuine remorse and horror to be found from the characters (albeit real people), and maybe that's enough to show signs of hope. This is to be seen, researched, and discussed for a long time to come. This struggle continues to this day, with no end in sight. Viewer beware: the last minute of the film shows original (actual) footage of the survivors' post-massacre reactions. It will break your heart to see.

Here is the trailer:

It is also available as a graphic novel from Metropolitan Books.

No comments:

Post a Comment