An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.
Choosing to do an animated feature about the beginning of the first Lebanon war in 1982 and the collective trauma and amnesia caused by this war to its heroes - young soldier torn down from their first world life to be thrown in the violent absurdity of war - and the whole Israeli society is both a daring and natural thing to do. Daring because this film is after all a documentary about the search to the lost memory of the director about his own presence in war, and the journey to recover it by means of interviews with his fellows in arms. The real life persons are recorded while giving the interviews while extremely accurate drawn images play the visual role (one of the persons interviewed is a famous journalist showing up often on TV). As realist as these scenes are, it is hard to imagine how difficult it would have been to bring on screen the fighting scenes, or to play the trauma of the young boys shown into a terrifying and nightmarish reality. So animation was the right and natural choice. Without using special or expensive effects, the dreams and nightmare scenes are both catching and terrifying, reflecting the traumatized souls of the dreamers (one won't forget easily the opening scene).
Yet, the message of the film is far beyond the personal message. When dreams (or better said nightmares) dissipate the deep-buried reality gets back - the massacres in the Palestinian camps become real on screen, and this is the only place where Folman uses fragments of filmed material rather than animation. The nightmare became reality and its a grim one. Without ever leaving the personal and emotional plans, the political statement about a war with no winners is made loud and clear without the need of being explicit.
- Sep 21, 2008