Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Hannah Arendt – **

Posted: April 27, 2013 in 2012, Drama, Germany, Israel, XX

A Jewish professor of German and Philosophy gets the opportunity to attend the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel. Her article in the New York Times however causes a lot of controversy. She has dared to trivialize the deeds of this nazi war criminal and even hinted that during the war several leaders of the Jewish community worked together with the nazis.

It’s really fascinating how a movie like this could be financed. It’s not an easy topic. It’s still controversial to trivialize Germans who ‘only followed orders’ during the Second World War. And it’s still highly controversial to talk about the role that Jewish leaders played in that ‘dark’ period of time (as it is referred to in this movie). Plus, this is a movie about a philosopher and hence filled with philosophical trains of thoughts and quotes of famous thinkers. Moreover, it’s a movie about a stubborn, rational and intellectually arrogant woman who was hated by her own people after the publication. A loveable Mary Poppins she isn’t. Plus she smokes. ALL the time.

I sympathised with her, just because she stuck to her rational beliefs and did not care that other people let their feelings take over their brain. The movie does not focus on her feelings at all (apart from maybe two scenes) and gives you a very stubborn, rational and arrogant heroine. It’s up to the viewers to judge her, like the people did back in the sixties. That’s the biggest feat of this movie: it’s unbiased portrayal (performed incredibly well by Barbara Sukowa). Her final speech is impressive.

But the other actors surrounding her are terrible. Not just mediocre, but terrible. The editing is bad, the delayed synchronisation is annoying, the camera angles are uninspiring, the soundtrack is horrific and it all feels like this was made for television on a very low-budget. But fascinating story.

It took me a few years to watch Waltz With Bashir because of its heavy content. There’s always another movie with a somewhat lighter subject matter at hand. Watching an animated documentary about a massacre during the Lebanese war of 1982 just isn’t all that appealing, even though you know it’s one of the most acclaimed movie pictures of recent years. I just finished it however and I’m glad I did. I haven’t seen anything like this before. This is truly a unique masterpiece.

I was personally more impressed by the animation than by the story. In the end it’s a documentary about an Israeli guy who interviews friends from his period as a soldier in the Lebanese War in order to get the facts straight about certain memories he has. I’m not sure I would have finished this movie if it had been made as a regular documentary. But the animation is extraordinary and allows the movie to become more than a historical recount. Waltz With Bashir feels like a graphic novel with moving characters. Most of the backgrounds are stills and the action is slow-paced, but it never bores and some scenes are ingenious. The drawings are spectacular, especially the use of color adds to a grim, but fascinating atmosphere. There’s even room for humor (like the scene where they watch German porn on tv) and fantasy (the several dream sequences). But at other points the animation just shows people being interviewed or others having a conversation at a bar.

On the dvd there’s an interview with the director of the movie, who turns out to be quite a controversial, somewhat arrogant and opinionated guy (who dislikes everything about Schindler’s List for instance).  But I loved listening to him. Even though the real star of this movie is the graphic illustrator David Polonsky, it’s the director who came up with the ideas. The scene that the title is referring to is awesome. It’s incredibly well animated, but in the end the idea came from the director. The movie ends abruptly with a surprise, but it all makes sense in the end. You may have enjoyed the animation, but let it be clear: there is a lot of ugliness in the world.