Friday, 16 February 2018

Perspectives - Cone of Cogency

In order to prepare for Perspectives we must know what we are writing about and be able to narrow the reader's knowledge into a specific point. This will help increase the overall effectiveness of our writing and communication of our concept. This can be helped by completing this exercise. 


Monday, 5 February 2018

Waltz with Bashir - Film Review

Fig.1 Film Poster

Written and directed by Ari Folman, ‘Waltz with Bashir’ is a 2008 animated war documentary that explores Folman’s search for his lost memories during the 1982 Lebanon war. The film has been well received and won several awards including Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. However due to the nature of the film carrying an anti-war message and the sensitive topic of the Lebanon war, the film has been banned in a number of Arab countries including Lebanon.  

The story follows Folman as he attempts to uncover his past, interviewing a number of both friends and fellow soldiers. The scripts in ‘Waltz with Bashir’ are from real interviews that took place, though actors have been used for those who did not want to appear in the film. Due to the sensitivity of the subject it is understandable why they did not take part in representing themselves. This leads to an underlying theme of loss of memory. It is something that is afflicted by the soldiers present in the film and to a further extent reaches out to the society of Israel.

It is unknown whether or not people of Israel have suppressed memories of the Lebanon war, in particular the massacres that took place at Sabra and Shatila. While forces associated with the Israel Defence Force may not have taken direct action against a specific group of people they may feel as if they assisted those who did. As critic Peter Bradshaw questions:

“Has Israel made a mass, semi-conscious decision to forget about the Sabra and Chatila massacres of the 1982 Lebanese war, in which Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militia into Palestinian refugee camps to slaughter civilians?” (Bradshaw, 2008)

‘Waltz with Bashir’ suggests that perhaps the Israeli people have partially forgotten this troubled event. Feelings of the once prosecuted people, now partaking in the prosecution of another is shown. As of such feelings of guilt is strong but it is important to remember and learn from such an event.
Folman’s choice in style of animation has led to confuse a number of audiences. Looking at how natural and fluid the animation of the characters appears it is easy to understand why audience may think that rotoscoping was used. In reality Folman’s team employed several media packages including Adobe Flash and After Effects. In an interview Folman stated the reasons as to why he did not use techniques like rotoscoping,

“But, for me, rotoscoping has a big problem in conveying emotions. You see the technique, you see the drawings, and that takes your focus. If this film had been rotoscoped, it would have been hard for the audience to get emotional with the characters.” (Kaufman, 2008)

As the statement suggests it was especially important for the audience to connect with the characters. This is a personal story following multiple people who all experienced different traumatic experiences of a singular collective event. The choice in style was deliberate implying that the majority of Folman’s memories were not true to him. There is uncertainty in what is true and what is not. ‘Waltz with Bashir’s ending is simple yet very effective. In contrast to the graphic novel-esc animation, real hard-hitting footage of the bodies and remaining survivors from the massacre is presented as the film’s ending note.  The message is carried so well by animation critic, Roger Ebert comments:

“Folman is an Israeli documentarian who has not worked in animation. Now he uses it as the best way to reconstruct memories, fantasies, hallucinations, possibilities, past and present. This film would be nearly impossible to make any other way.” (Ebert, 2009)

Fig.2 Exaggeration Through Animation

It becomes increasingly clear that ‘Waltz with Bashir’ is a personal project carrying a lot of emotions from fear to anxiety. Folman, after his military career went onto travel the world discovering that he had some fascination with cinema. As a result Folman studied the subject and produced a number of documentaries afterwards. His history in making documentaries has allowed him to take a different approach that is typical in live-action films. His graduate film, ‘COMFORTABELY NUMB’ (1991) informs the viewer of his friends’ experience of panic and anxiety during the First Gulf War. It shows that ‘Waltz with Bashir’ is not the first war documentary he has created.

Using his experience in his first animated film, Folman was able to overall create a film that was well received by critics, giving a unique insight into the events described. 


Bibliography

Bradshaw, P. (2008). Waltz with Bashir. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2008/nov/21/waltz-with-bashir-folman [Accessed: 05/02/18]

Kaufman, D. (2008). How They Did It: Waltz With Bashir. [Online] Available at: http://www.studiodaily.com/2008/12/how-they-did-it-waltz-with-bashir/ [Accessed: 05/02/18]

Ebert, R. (2009). Waltz with Bashir. [Online] Available at: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/waltz-with-bashir-2009 [Accessed: 05/02/18]

Illustration list

fig.1 Film Poster. (2008) From: Waltz with Bashir. Directed by: Ari Folman [Poster] Israel: Sony Pictures Classic. At: http://www.the-match-factory.com/assets/gfx/images/films/w/waltz-with-bashir/artwork-waltz-with-bashir.jpg [Accessed: 05/02/18]

fig.2 Exaggeration Through Animation. Directed by: Ari Folman [Film Still] Israel: Sony Pictures Classic. At: http://www.animatormag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/waltz-bashir.jpg [Accessed: 05/02/18]


Perspectives - Proposal