Must See Pick: Waltz With Bashir

One of the great things about being a foreigner is that you are immediately assumed to be the voice of your country. While back home I would simply be your Average Shlomo, here I am nothing short of His Royal Excellence Majesty Ambassador Shlomi Rabi. Now, while normally I am honored and flattered by such deference–and if for no other reason than for assuming that my intelligence level is higher than it actually is–I, too, must admit that the task can be daunting, especially given the activity in the region these days. Surely I could not be asked to explain everything emanating from my home country. After all, I don’t ask Swedes to explain the fascination with meatballs, Mexicans to explain why breakfast has to be spicy, Brits to explain why their toothpaste tubes collect dust, or Americans to explain the insistence on mispronouncing “aluminium”. I’m just sayin.

That said, one thing that I will always gladly discuss (well, there are two things, really, but only one that would be suitable for the dinner table) is the importance of art that openly adresses political dilemmas. Such is the case with this year’s Golden Globe Foreign Language Winner and the National Society of Film Critics pick for Best Film, Israel’s Waltz with Bashir. Ari Folman’s masterpiece, easily one of the most visually arresting movies to come out in years, interweaves memories–real and fabricated alike–with dream sequences and real-life happenings to create a candid (perhaps even uncomfortably so) retrospect of Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War, and specifically, the Sabra and Shatila massacre that haunted politics in the region for years to come. The movie does not point fingers and does not demand explanation–or revenge–from either side. Rather, it is a cultural artifact that examines the maddening effects of war from the eyes of a distraught soldier, raising questions regarding personal and social responsibilities alike.

The movie will be showing at Piper’s Alley this Friday, January 23rd


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