Waltz with Bashir

It was colder than a witch’s t$t that day. All day, it had been pretty cold. Full body cover and head gear were a must, and the biting cold winds made you swear off every ungodly thing you might have done in this sorry little life. Somehow I reached Lincoln Plaza cinemas on 62nd and Broadway by 7:30pm.
My cousin was due to meet me there with a buddy of his. I called him up only to learn that he is in a cafe somewhere. Ah! Enjoyin the warmth when I am counting body parts that I was losing to frostbite. Anyway, he came soon enough, and told me that the friend would join us and that we should go inside. We bought the tickets and went into the movie theater hallowed with heat.
The movie was ‘Waltz with Bashir’. It was…wait for it…an animated documentary. That is a rare genre, but enough exploited to make some kinda statement alongwith saving money.
This movie was about the recollections of a man who fought for Israel in the dark and gloomy depths of Lebanon in the 1982 Israel-Lebanon conflict. He finds, in the beginning that he cannot remember anything significant about the conflict situations. So the whole movie is his search of people who were with him (with better memories) and their recollections of how it went down…so to speak. Bashir was the name of the president elect of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel, who was assassinated around that time. The Lebanese Christian Militia, also called the Phalangists, were sympathetic to the Israeli agenda, and 150 Phalangist forces routed the Sabra & Shatilla camps, hence the name “Sabra & Shatilla massacre.”
The movie was disturbing, and thought-provoking. While I would support Israel in most situations, it being a democracy in a middle east riddled with theocrats is an important thing to me. The movie is amazingly poignant today in the event of the invasion of Gaza, and dare I extrapolate to the Sri Lankan annihilation of LTTE?
All in all, it was enjoyable, but tiring, because staring at subtitles for an hour and a half when you are already tired is not easy. I would recommend the movie to my serious connoisseurs, but I would prescribe some light reading of the 1982 conflict.
Later, off to some desi restaurant on Amsterdam ave. with that friend of my cousin’s who caught up with us after the movie. We ate something called Gajar ka halwa there, although the color and taste failed to ring any bell. A couple of beers later, another freezing walk to the subway station, and home sweet home…

7 thoughts on “Waltz with Bashir

  1. Off-beat cinema huh? Well, I’ve been laughed at when I admitted to watching such movies, but I cudn’t care less. I’ll try and watch this one if it’s available on Netflix. I’m not certain, but isn’t this conflict the reason behind the American TWA aircraft hijack in ’85 which ended in the release of 32 Lebanese prisoners from Israeli prisons?

  2. @SthitapragnyaI am quite positive that this invasion happened in 1982, so unless they avenged something presciently I have to disagree with you..havin said that, keep watchin ‘off beat’ cinema…to hell with the naysayers!

  3. Presciently? The hijack occured in 1985 (three years later) so it is possible they avenged the attack of ’82! But yes, it turns out, I’m wrong. The hijack had nothing to do with the conflict. 😀

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