Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
In this incredible documentary/animation hybrid, filmmaker Ari Folman attempts to unlock his repressed memories from his Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. The film consists of him interviewing former soldiers and recreating their memories and dreams with gorgeous and surreal imagery and a great score from Max Richter. In one scene a therapist decribes an incident where a war photographer used his camera as a mechanism for distancing himself from the horrors of war, and he only begins to become truly aware of the experience when his camera breaks. Waltz With Bashir employs a similar tactic on the audience, no longer allowing the animation to distance us from the atrocity; in the final scene following the massacres in the Palestinian camp, the animated images become actual archive footage of crying women and children and corpes. This is a very powerful, and heavy film. I’ve seen it referred to as one of the greatest antiwar films as well as one of the best animated films ever made, and those statements aren’t much of an exaggeration in my opinion.