Waltz With Bashir Review
Friday 24th October, 8.30 pm, London Odeon Leicester Square
Monday 27th October, 6.30pm, London Phoenix
An ambient but breathtaking exploration of consciousness turns into a journey of the conscience in this animated docufilm.
Multi-faceted and deeply personal, Waltz with Bashir successfully explores the power of dreams and memories as the auteur and protagonist Ari Folman takes a guilt-trip into his past as an Israeli soldier involved in the 1982 Sabra and Shantila massacre. A friend’s account of his recurring nightmare of 26 baying hounds provokes Ari into a spiritual and physical exploration of how the human mind copes when overwhelmed by emotions too shocking to fully comprehend.
The premise that gaps in memory can be filled by the imagination leads to recollections in which reality is tainted by the mind’s ability to replace aspects that it would prefer not to acknowledge. Think of the fantasy of ‘This Waking Life’, evolving from psychological exploration in theory into stark reality on the gritty battlefield.
Rarely would such harrowing subject matter be so successfully explored using such lush and ambient hallucinatory visuals, yet Waltz With Bashir manages this effortlessly, creating an original piece that can be enjoyed on many levels in the process.
The pace of the film constantly switches between fast-paced daytime memories of war and the slow, semi-conscious, often fantastical recollections of night-time and dreams, resulting in an exhausting but highly pleasurable 87 minutes.
By Charlie Coffey