Two reviews of “Waltz with Bashir”

There are a couple of good reviews of the film “Waltz with Bashir” which recently won the Golden Globe for best foreign film.  The New York Times calls it “a work of astonishing aesthetic integrity and searing moral power,” while Salon.com’s Gary Kamiya writes about the parallels between Israel’s war with Lebanon in 1982 and the recent massacre in Gaza:

Folman’s film is not political. It does not preach or pass judgment. Yet in its artistic integrity, it unintentionally reveals the grim parallels between Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and its complicity with the Sabra and Shatilla massacre and its current onslaught — parallels that, if Israel and the U.S. heeded them, would lead them to understand that the Gaza campaign is both morally appalling and politically self-destructive. Israelis justifiably regard their leaders’ role in enabling the Sabra and Shatilla massacre as one of Israel’s darkest moments, a permanent stain on its character. Of course, Israel’s moral culpability for the 1982 massacre is not the same as its moral responsibility for the civilians killed in the current war. But there are painful similarities. …

Then as now, Israel went to war in the deluded belief that it could defeat a nationalist movement by smashing it into submission. Then as now, America signed off on this wrongheaded tactic. Then as now, Israel won a short-term tactical military victory that ultimately weakened its security and severely damaged America’s interests. And then as now, both Israel and America justified massive civilian casualties by incessantly invoking “terrorism” and dehumanizing the Palestinians.

One thing that strikes me in reviews of this film (I haven’t seen the film itself) is the focus on the psychological and moral impact of war on Israelis, an important topic which gets neatly elided by jingoistic celebrations of war as “defense.”  Would anyone who has seen the film like to comment?

–L.L. Wynn

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One Response to Two reviews of “Waltz with Bashir”

  1. maha says:

    I did see it, and will leave it to the excellent Gideon Levy to express why it left me not feeling cold (if only) but more than a little outraged at how Western ‘liberal’ audiences are so willing to suspend their disbelief against all odds at any apparently ‘liberal’ fare coming out of Israel – http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1065552.html

    See also Jonathon Cook’s review of The Syrian Bride, another example of insidious hoodwinking that seems to have become a genre in its own right – http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4023.shtml

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