Stuck Up Cinema – Go Watch Waltz with Bashir

Last week Stuck Up Cinema got super serious and talked about Jesus and all that stuff. As an adamant believer in karma I knew that I would have to find a balance and make this week’s Stuck Up Cinema be a little bit more positive. That’s why this week we are going to step away from the serious world of Jesus Christ and we’re going to enter the depressing world of the Lebanon War.

…yay.

This is the first in a continuing series of Stuck Up Cinema that I’ll refer to simply as the ‘Go Watch’ series. The title rather bluntly explains the entire idea of the posts where I will simply recommend you a movie that you need to go watch. It’s very much like the Movies You Need to See, but instead I’ll focus on one movie. I know, essentially every single Stuck Up Cinema could be me recommending a movie, but it’s my post so you can just deal with it.

Waltz with Bashir is a neat little movie that hides itself as a drama but in actuality it’s an animated documentary. It follows Ari Folman, who is the director, writer, producer and lead of the film, as he speaks to all his fellow soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces to try and piece together what exactly happened to him during his time with IDF. The amnesia provides the entire ‘plot’ for the film and acts as the reason for the documentary. What Folman does is interview all of his fellow soldiers, hearing stories from their own time in the IDF to figure out what happened to him that he forgot.

All of the stories we’re told are shown beautifully in the animation and the look of the film is the big selling point of the movie to me. It’s a gorgeous style that has some absolutely breathtaking moments. I guarantee that you are going to forget that you are watching a documentary and you’ll think you’re watching a fictional story with a concrete narrative. This is a movie pushed by its visuals and Folman was brilliant to tell the story through this style, allowing for every story we hear to be seen, experienced and you’ll still come away from it feeling as if you’re watching a dream.

As Folman begins to remember what happened to him during his time during IDF we, as the audience, feel drawn in and compelled to solve this mystery with him. The ending of the film hit me hard, shattering the part of my body that creates empathy and leaving me just feeling very heavy. The build to the ending all makes sense, you can see it coming and you know it won’t be happy, but the stark contrast to everything else is what makes it so powerful. It was one of those movies where as the credits rolled I just sat there silently, contemplating the existence of violence on this earth.

You could say I’m selling this movie hard, but isn’t that the point of this blog? I think many people who read The Ubiquitous Gentlemen would like this movie. It’s compelling, thought provoking and different than most other films you’d watch on a Friday night. Of course, as films do, Waltz with Bashir doesn’t escape controversy. It is banned in Lebanon, and I imagine that is merely due to the subject matter and not exclusively to how the subject is handled. That is, unfortunately, unavoidable.

If you do decide to check this movie out, go in with an open mind and an open soul; as hippy as that sounds. This is the kind of movie that you have to take in while watching and pay attention to the world it creates. It’s a great bonus that the movie is beautiful to look at, and really pushes the story and mood into you as you watch it.

Let me know what you think in the comments if you watch it!

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