Ari Folman’s haunting testimony of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Waltz with Bashir (Israel, 2008) is narratively developed as a search to remember past events that could help heal the open wounds of Folman and his fellow soldiers. Yet what comes out almost at every step is a failure of the Israeli soldiers to reason and calculate their own personal safety in the presence of others—not only at the time the events took place but primarily during the present: the absent discourse about reasons for decisions made and alternative modes of action is accompanied only by the emphasis that reasoning is bound to fail during the war. The slow-moving style of animation translates the reasoning failure into a handicapped movement, and presents this specific animated representation as the inevitable style to accompany the soldiers’ predicament. This representation of individual acts of miscalculated personal safety as a necessary failure of reasoning per se conditions the trauma explored in Waltz with Bashir.


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pp. 132-152
Launched on MUSE
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