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Archive for November 2008

Waltz With Bashir *****

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Waltz With BashirWaltz With Bashir is a documentary of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict of the early 1980’s (specifically, the massacres of Sabra and Shatila). Its title refers to the dance of Frenkel, an officer, as he falls into a trance whilst shooting through a hail of gunfire at a contested crossroad. Bashir, whose assassination subsequently fuels the massacres committed by his followers, looks on from enormous posters and murals. As do the crowds who occupy the tower blocks that bear his image – “as if they were watching a movie”. The Lebanese enemy, unseen, fires both at the entrenched protagonist, Frenkel, and a third figure. Celebrated war correspondent Ben-Yishai strides through the scene, as if “invincible”, his cameraman cowering before him. This scene is constructed in animation and spoken recollection. All three men recall the event, but in different aspects. Shards of their subjective memories are reconstituted on screen. This is not a reconstruction, but it is a truthful imagining of an event which cannot be reconstructed – because it cannot be known other than through the imaginations of its participants. The scene is constructed as a truthful account, and a metaphor for the film. Participants in these events are also waltzing, and the audience watches from the balconies. The enemy remain silent (their bullets and “fizzing” rockets excepted) until their screams at the film’s conclusion.

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Written by James P. Campbell

24/11/2008 at 12:10