Some memories are so painful, that your subconscious has no choice but to suppress them. For Israeli Ari Folman, his mind went completely blank when he tried to recall the first Lebanon War. Folman was only 19, still just a child, when he served in the Israeli Defense Force. It was impossible for him to comprehend the horrors of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, the slaughter of some thousands of Palestinians to which he bore witness. So, he didn't. He tucked it safely away, until decades later, when a chance meeting with an old friend awoke the demon.
Folman's story is the foundation for Waltz With Bashir, a retelling of the war that wracked Israel and Lebanon in the early 1980s. Rather than revisit the bloodshed directly with archived footage, director Folman chose to examine the events within the context they appear the most - in dreams and forgotten memories. Using a technique that so visually stunning that it appears to be rotoscoped, Folman recreated Bashir as both a documentary and an animated film. His interviews with those unfortunate others who experienced the war firsthand are cast as animated vignettes, juxtaposed with vibrantly colored scenes of war-torn Lebanon recollections that, while enveloped in a dreamy, comic book filter, can't mask the reality within.
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The Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated Best Foreign Language Film screens through Thursday, April 2 at the Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Worth Ave., Lake Worth). Tickets cost $8. For showtimes, call 561-586-6410, or visit lakeworthplayhouse.org.
March 27-April 2, 2009