I cannot bring myself to talk to my younger brother of the war he had witnessed in 2000 and bring those memories back and I feel there is a part of him that I don’t know and cannot connect to. Waltz with Bashir, it feels, allowed me to at least imagine some of the feelings he might have felt back then and bring us somewhat closer.
According to one of the creators of Waltz with Bashir Ari Folman, oftentimes even anti-war films end up glorifying war. I never thought of this but this is exactly what happens when I watch a movie that is supposed to show us the horrors of the war: there is always a hero overcoming the fear of death and saving others possibly at the cost of her own life and all that magic that film makers have at their disposal that makes even a war look like an adventure of one’s life time. Waltz, that is now both a graphic novel and a film, stripps the war off its glory. What is left are raw feelings of fear, confusion, helplessness and when the hell is over a new one starts – years of nightmares.
It seems human memory needs to surpress the most painful episodes in order for us to go on and build something new. At least this is the case for Ari who finds himself oblivious of what he had seen and done but chooses to go back and reconstruct those memories, reconnecting to the 19 year-old he was and possibly bringing up the painful question of his own part in the events of the massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatila in the 1982 Lebanon War.
Sharing this film with just a few people in a tiny movie salong was a powerful experience.
When does a war end after the guns stop firing?
Salon article “What Waltz with Bashir can teach us about Gaza”
Words Without Borders interview wth David Polonsky, the artist behind Waltz with Bashir