Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Well-Orchestrated Waltz With Bashir

I'm not sure how can I recommend a movie that ruined my week.

This movie is animated and the animation is incredibly good. It talks about Sabra and Shatilla, among many things. It slowly moves you into within the Palestinian camp where people were slaughtered, and it sucks out your soul from you at some parts of the movie. You will absolutely feel like crap, especially toward the end.

The ironies in this movie are the best thing about it. The songs are well-made but when you hear their lyrics you will cringe. The irony of a person affected by a genocide contributing to another one, and the irony that Waltz with Bashir left me with after I left the smallest and only cinema in my town of one million people that showed that movie (while the Dark Knight is still in some theaters): most Americans can barely recall or know what that massacre was about, and this movie might be the only reminder they have. A movie made by Israelis, talking how they were partially involved in this crime. Some Israelis did not avoid history, but actually converted it into a master piece that made it a nominee for an Oscar for best foreign movie. I wonder if any Arab nation is willing to make a movie about some crimes, or misfortunes, that they have contributed to in the past.

This year in the Oscars, I'm rooting for Israel.


NasEr said...

very good review .
when i watched the movie,i thought i must make the Arabic subtitle for it,and i did,its exactly what you said,it pissed me off that they're that clear with themselves,where we Arabs didn't bother trying to make anything about that crime,moreover, you'll be surprised of how many people criticized and attacked me for translating and asking ppl to watch "The enemy's" movie, which "has a sex scene targeted to ruin our youth's minds" !!!!
that ending of the movie,i dnt know if ugot to experience what i experienced since u watched it in a theater,but when u watch it at ur pc,and that last scene ends,and the blank screen comes with all the silence in the world !that was something!
i hope (kinda sure) it wins the Oscar and more ppl would see it.

mab3oos said...

Not just that. Some Arab TV stations are banning the movie and refusing to air it just because it was made in Israel.

KJ said...

Interesting.. will try to see if I can get it from somehwere..

On deviantART there is a very brief film that has sparked controversy on that little community. You can check it out here:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Arabs had made this movvie, would the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Art (Oscars) actually nominate this movie? I don't believe so. "Paradise Now" was nominated because of the storyline which shows how an Arab did not go along with his friend because he did not want "to harm" the Israelis. I don't agree that anger should be placed on the Arabs because they know it would be ignored just like all the other documentaries about Palestine.

The Observer said...

I heard a lot about the movie and really hope to watch it soon!

Anonymous said...

You did not mention though that it's a non-political movie "so no one was blamed for the massacre" and the main subject of the movie was not the massacre of some 3000 Palestinians, but the PTSS that the Israeli 19 years old soldier suffered from because him witnessed it. It kinda tells you how worthless Palestinian blood is to others.

Hareega said...

Naser, the end was very dramatic, it could not have ended in a better way. If Arabs don't want to watch it, they should make a movie themselves. How many movies have we made of Sabra and Shatilla?

mab3oos, I've heard that Lebanon banned it, and I cannot diagree with their decision. Consistency is important.

KJ, can't watch it without a password.

Anonymous 1.. You're making an assumption and answering yourself also based on an assumtpion. Have Arabs produced any such movie about the Palestinian cause?? Why are you assuming it will be ignored? Good directors do not make movies to win Oscars, they make good movies because they want to make good movies, and such good movies can bring a lot of audience as well.

Anonymous 2, I don't know how you can say the movie is not blaming anyone for the massacre. It clearly mentioned the Phalangists and clearly mentioned that some ISraelis (those on the very tall building and Sharon) knew about it. It tried to put some Israelis in the "good guys" position as if they stopped the massacre eventually, but it did not falsify facts. Israelis did not do the killlings themselves but covered for the kata2eb while they did it (hence, dancing waltz with them)

Dana said...

What's the point of expressing remorse about an Israeli massacre when Israelis were committing another in Gaza, a massacre with approval ratings of 95% that left 1300 killed and maimed 4000 and turned tens of thousands homeless. Israelis are beyond remorse or even salvation. Israelis are freaky anachronism stuck in B.C. but with nukes. May God have mercy on their neighbors. I leave you with this little jewel from the old testament:

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the LORD said to Moses, 51 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you.

abusasha said...

Any link to watch it or download it?

Ali said...

I can't wait to see the movie. Thats the difference between Arabs and Israelis, they dare to face the truth we don't. We either always blame it on Israeli conspiracy or failed Arab leadership. I can't wait to see a movie about the Arab Political prisoners in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the est of our beloved countries.

Hareega said...

Dana, I cannot agrre with you more that Israel has committed several criminal activities and expressed no guilt about it, and they will continue to do so. My point is different, here's an Israelis director who made a very good movie , maybe to get famous or maybe because it discussed a personal experience or maybe because he felt guilty about something , I'm not sure, but he did it and he did not change the facts, maybe he blamed the Phalangists more for the crime but he did something that Arabs (to my knowledge) have never done, and I would doubt an Arab government would allow any of its directors to do something like it let alone nominate their movie to an Acamdey Award.

Hareega said...

Abu-sasha, i'm not good in pirating movies on the internet.

Ali, dream on

Ali said...

Imagine the Osacars that we can get if only we can humanize the stories of Palestinain sufferings in occupied Palestina and in Diaspora. This is the only way we can win American hearts, I used to tell them stories of my family and other families I know without putting the blame on Israel and Arabs, and Americans used to cry to see the injustice and atrocities commited against Palestinians, that's a tool that has not been ever utilized.

Anonymous said...

Well Hareega, the keypoint is that it's not a political movie, some classified genre it as animated documentary, however the director of the movie said it was his own story about dealing with PTSS. Politically it did not blame Israel for the massacre, Is it being aware of or being responsible for, the plan was Israeli, the tool was the phalangists. For me the movie only adds insult to injury, just like Munich. A pity indeed.

Anonymous 2

Anonymous said...

There were some good attempts
One of the is the low budget Palestinian movie "حكاية الجواهر الثلاث"
The actors were kids, the acting was superb, one of the scenes that is still stuck in my mind is when the Israeli warplanes break the sound barrier in the Gazan skies while the two boys were going home, right afterwards the first boy asks the other: عملتها على حالك? He answers: آه بس مش الثقيلة. He was proud of himself for holding الثقيلة. The movie was ultra humane. But it didn't win. It wasn't even nominated.

Anonymous 2

NasEr said...

I think a lot of people dehumanizing every Jew/Israeli just like a lot of people in the west are mass judging us by what happened in 9/11 or similar events.
I understand,but i don't agree.

Hareega said...

Anonymous 2, thanks for the reminder about the Palestinian movie. What saddens me is that Arabs are capable of producing some great poltical and dramatic movies and we indeed have a lot of inspiration from the numerous tragedies we've been through but we did not produce any decent one with very few exceptions, it comes to the freedom of speech.

About the movie itself, it may not claissify as political, it may have its own genre, an animation-documentary, I still think it puts some of the blame on Israeli leaders, given the fact that it still tries to give some other Israelis the image of the good guys.
At the end of the day, it's the Phalangists who committed the massacre. Without ISrael's support it would not have happened, but it's the Pahalngists who did it. At the end of the movie it was ironic how an old lady was screaming "wein el 3arab" when it was actually Arabs who killed 3000 people in the camp.

Ali said...

Anonymous, there are a few Palestinain movies out there that were shot in Gaza and the West Bank, I can't recall the name now. But imagine what we can do with our oil money!

Naser, I do have to agree that we do dehumanize Israelis and Jews many times while there are some Israelis who keep calling for Peace and do demonstrate the atrocities commited by their governments. I have also met many Jews who are sympathatic with Palestinians but they were not Israleis. After all Judasim is a relegion.

Anonymous said...

I know I came back and forth for this post but it's very intriguing.
You might want to take a look at this:
I have to quote this: This focus on the experiences of IDF veterans may bring grumbles from some of Israel's critics. Isn't Waltz With Bashir asking us, however artfully, to sympathise with the invaders of 1982, not the invaded - to somehow see the IDF, rather than the Lebanese and Palestinians of Beirut, as the victims of that war?

This is exactly my point.

Anonymous 2

Hareega said...

Anonymous 2, I do not disagree with you in that it tried to bring compassion to the ISraeli soldiers, but in any movie that depicts a criminal as a human being you cannot help but feel something for that person. Look at movies including documentaries about the worst serial killers and you can't help but feel sorry for the killer at times. But I don't think anyone could not sympathasize with the Palestinians in the camp, at least during the last 10 minutes of the movie.