Waltz With Bashir is an animated movie by Ari Folman. It reminds me: I spent my youth drawing animals. Waltz With Bashir starts with an incredible scene. Dogs that look like death are running through the streets and the movie says “death, death, death.” The dogs are orange and black and horrible and you know: this is a place where you don’t want to be, but it’s also a place where you want to be, because you (sort of) want to find out what’s going on. That’s the leitmotif. A guy does and does not want to remember what happened.
Waltz With Bashir is not your typical anti-war movie. It doesn’t aim to get clear about the who-did-what, and no particular person of power is singled out as evil-doer. Instead, the movie is about the perspectives of soldiers who have to take it day by day, and who end up traumatized. The protagonist realizes that his memories of the Lebanon War in the 1980s have holes. The film assumes that the human mind will suppress things — a way to survive and something to revisit later on in life. No big fanfare. This is how it is, the film suggests, in all kinds of wars, for all kinds of generations. As personal as the perspective of the narrator is, this easily translates into a general claim, and a chilling one.
That being said, my interest in the movie is first and foremost artistic. It’s a work of art, and it makes me wish I could apply for Ari Folman’s next movie as illustrator. Perhaps he shall take me and Jens on his team, given that Jens is moving to drawings now and that I spent my earlier life sketching… to be continued.