Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Israeli movie: Waltz with Bashir

The Guardian, May 15th 2008:

Last night at Cannes saw the premiere of a remarkable new Israeli film, Waltz With Bashir. It's a soldier's eye view of the Sabra and Shatila camp killings in 1982 - still one of the most shameful episodes in Israeli history, in which IDF units stood by as Lebanese Christian Phalangists brutally attacked Palestinian civilians. The exact number of deaths is not known, varying between Red Cross estimates of 7-800, and Phalangist claims of 2-3000. The Bashir in the title refers to Bashir Gemayel, the Lebanese president-elect whose murder in 1982 triggered the Phalangists' rampage.

This film is remarkable, for one, in the very that it exists at all: it is a mea culpa, created by someone intimately connected with events. Director (and central figure) Ari Folman doesn't attempt to evade, soft-pedal or make excuses. He presents the film as therapy; his own attempt to recover the blocked memories of what actually happened. In doing so, he himself makes an explicit connection between the death camps Jews had fled in Europe, and the refugee camps in which Palestinians were housed and brutalised in Lebanon. Folman isn't pulling any punches.
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Movie trailers here, more reviews here


Ahmed Eid said...

Looks awesome

Huda Shaka` said...

Before anyone gets too excited (maybe it's already too late - thanks Z!):