Today’s L.A. Times features a story on Waltz With Bashir, the sure-to-be-controversial animated feature from Israel, being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight, and at the Ottawa Animation Festival on September 17th.
Waltz With Bashir is a documentary, spoken by veterans of a 1982 invasion of South Lebannon, woven into a narrative containing shocking violence (the film is a hard “R” rating) and potent graphic images. I had the opportunity to screen the film last week. It’s an effective anti-war film and a strong denouncement of the Israeli Army. The powerful story it tells transcends the technique – the animation is not the point here, it’s simply the medium to communicate the message. We all know animation is not just talking animals and can do more than tell jokes. Here’s a film that proves it. I admire Bashir, not as an animated film, but as an important film with significant things to say, that leaves you with lots to think about. It also pushes the artform into a bigger arena of filmmaking potential and points towards the possibilities of where else it can go.