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Waltz with Bashir(2008)
Documents the filmmaker's journey toward discovering the truth about an Israeli Army mission he participated in during the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s that left him with a loss of memory about the events. The long-forgotten images begin to resurface as the director interviews old friends and comrades around the world.
For more about Waltz with Bashir and the Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray release, see Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ari Folman, Dror Harazi, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag
Director: Ari Folman
» See full cast & crew
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray Review
An animated documentary on the horrors of war enthralls on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 8, 2009
Our memories will take us only as far as we are capable of going.
A one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, Waltz With Bashir tells the story of an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) veteran in search of lost memories, memories that have long since faded following his experiences in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Told through an animated documentary-style with visually-based flashbacks to the war that reinforce the monologues recounting the experiences of several veterans, Waltz With Bashir touches on life in a battle zone, examining not only the physical toll taken on combatants and civilians on both sides but also the short- and long-term mental and emotional effects that define both the outcome of the conflict and shape a man's life long after the cessation of hostilities. Told with a riveting simplicity and animated in a dark, rather crude style that perfectly matches the trauma and emotion of the story, Waltz With Bashir represents one of the more compelling pictures to grace screens in recent years.
Former IDF solider and veteran of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, filmmaker Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir represents his attempts to glean his own lost memories of the conflict through dialogue with several other veterans, friends, psychologists, and journalists. Haunted by a dream of his possible involvement of the Sabra and Shatila prison camp massacres that saw the deaths of many Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli-allied Lebanese Christian Phalangists, Ari sets out to reconstruct his faded memory when he realizes that he is not alone in coping with confusion, disillusion, and a failure to recollect not only specific details about his involvement in the war but the broad, sweeping generalities that defined the entirety of his experience. Written, produced, directed, and starring the likeness and voice of Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir tells the tale of one's man's search for a truth he cannot remember -- and that he may rather not know.
Certainly not an overtly political film, Waltz With Bashir is more of a contemplative effort that seeks not necessarily to preach to its audience, re-write history, glorify war, or completely dismiss war, but rather examine its lasting effects on a man's soul. Not shying away from the realities of combat, the film recounts the dangers of the battlefield and the experiences of several men fighting in a confused situation that often recalls the best War films, for instance Oliver Stone's 1986 Best Picture winner Platoon. Nevertheless, Waltz With Bashir uses its subject material to allow Ari to slowly rebuild his memories and ultimately lead him to the recollection of the events buried deep inside his conscience. Throughout the film, Ari and others recall their wartime experiences and each of them, like Ari, has been scarred in some way by what they saw and partook in during the invasion. Their unique experiences and perspective slowly allow Ari to rebuild his, though to what degree of reality and accuracy remains in question even through to the end, the film at one point speaking of the difficulty of discerning real memories from skewed-perspective and manufactured images built around the interpretation of others.
From a technical perspective, Waltz With Bashir delivers a unique and engaging experience, the animation taking on a detailed but somewhat crude appearance. Lines aren't always straight, motion can be a bit choppy, and a generally dark tone defines the bulk of the imagery. This look suits the film wonderfully, all at once encapsulating the terrors of combat but also reinforcing the surreal nature of the narrative where the story is not told through a lens that purports to "be there" but rather through faded and scarred memories that don't necessarily recall every small detail. Concluding with brief live-action archival footage of the massacre, Waltz With Bashir leaves audiences with imagery that sacrifices the animated, surreal tone of the film for a harsh, cut-and-dry glimpse at the event central to the film. Debuting at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival where it was considered for the Palme d'Or and later nominated for a 2009 Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film, Waltz With Bashir has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive reception, and for good reason.
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray, Video Quality
Waltz With Bashir graces Blu-ray with a strong and well-defined 1080p, 1.78:1-framed image. Featuring sharp lines and strong edges, the animation -- though a bit rough as it may be -- is presented here gloriously, this Blu-ray transfer capturing every nuance to perfection. Though it doesn't feature an array of eye-catching colors and smooth and slick details, the film's reserved color palette and natural appearance are rendered wonderfully. Whether cold, steely blues and grays that dominate the beginning of the film, or brighter daytime scenes that still see a toned-down color scheme, this transfer presents each hue with startling clarity. A shadowy, surreal, almost mysterious image at times, this one features many dark backgrounds and corners that appear deep and inky. Though an animated film, certain segments feature the presence of noise that adds to the grittiness of the experience. Though a couple of scenes feature a small level of banding, this transfer excels in every area and, although not the most colorful or intricately-detailed animated film to grace Blu-ray, the faithful reproduction of the intended look makes for a marvelous high definition transfer.
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Waltz With Bashir arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony with the expected Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack in both Hebrew and English variations. The track features good, hard-hitting lows as part of the score and via many of the sound effects, evidenced straight away during the music accompanying the opening title sequence. Ambience impresses, too; exterior sequence featuring rain nicely envelop the listening area, and likewise the sounds of barking dogs in the first few minutes reverberate through the listening area to realistic effect. Music plays nicely, the stringed instruments in particular making for clear, natural notes that flow gracefully from the front speakers. The film also enjoys several throwback beats of the early 1980s, again offering a great presentation across the entire range, particularly in the lows. The militaristic sound effects come alive throughout, too. The slow movement of a tank, crushing cars along the way and ripping edges off buildings with its massive steel body, impresses. RPGs scream around the soundstage with startling clarity, and automatic weapons fire crackles and zips with precision. Surround activity is average throughout, not overly pronounced but audible in support of the soundtrack. Rounded out by clear dialogue reproduction, Waltz With Bashir makes for another strong audio offering from Sony.
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Waltz With Bashir arrives on Blu-ray with a fine selection of bonus materials. Headlining the package is a commentary track with Director Ari Folman. Presented in English, the director speaks of his multiple roles, including directing, producing, writing, and serving as the primary protagonist in the film. He also discusses his decision to make the film, the unique animation style, the sound, his approach to the material and reasons for creating it in the realm of animation, the Israeli perception of the massacre, the use of live-action footage at the end of the film, and much more. Though several gaps crop up during the track, Folman delivers a fine commentary that viewers will want to spend 90 minutes with. Q&A With Director Ari Folman (480p, 9:19) features the director sharing his thoughts on the making of Waltz With Bashir, addressing several questions relating to his decision to create an "animated documentary," the production of the film, the animation, and more. Surreal Soldiers: Making 'Waltz With Bashir' (480p, 12:03) and Building the Scenes -- Animatics (480p), a collection of four scenes in early stages of conception (Beirut Street Battle with Ron Ben-Yishai, The Fighting Arts with Shmuel Frenkel, Tank patrol with Dror Harazi, and Attacked in the Orange Grove), feature closer looks at the construction of the film's unique animated style. Concluding the supplements is BD-Live functionality, the Waltz With Bashir theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:05), and additional 1080p trailers for Persepolis; Frozen River; Synecdoche, New York; The Sky Crawlers; The International; Blood: The Last Vampire; The Counterfeiters; The Lives of Others; Casino Royale; The Da Vinci Code; and Ghostbusters.
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
With a plot driven by the verbally-recalled and visually-reinforced stories of war, the visions of combat serve not as the central structure of the film but rather as building blocks upon which the foundation of the story is laid. Created not to entertain but rather to allow its audience to critically analyze the horrors of war and, most importantly, allow its primary character to come to terms with whatever his role in the conflict may have entailed, Waltz With Bashir makes for a compelling and rich cinematic experience that thrives thanks to its simplistic approach to a complex and difficult issue. Sony's Blu-ray release is equally magnificent. Sporting near reference-quality 1080p picture and lossless surround sound, not to mention a fair helping of bonus materials, this Blu-ray release of Waltz With Bashir is a disc that should find its way into every cinephile's collection. Highly Recommended.
Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - June 23rd - June 23, 2009
Typically after major holidays, the number of new releases dries up for a week or so as studios recover from the push to get content onto store shelves for gift purchases. Unfortunately for Blu-ray fans, Father's Day is considered a major holiday in the home video ...
• Sony Announces Waltz with Bashir Blu-ray - April 28, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Oscar-nominated film 'Waltz with Bashir' to Blu-ray on June 23rd, day-and-date with the DVD release. Based on actual events witnessed by writer/director Ari Folman, video will be presented ...
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