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A landmark in film history

Latest update : 2008-05-17

The Cannes audience gave an indulgent go-ahead to Israeli director Ari Folman, who presented Waltz with Bashir, the world's very first animated documentary feature.

Follow the Cannes Film Festival in FRANCE 24’s "Culture" show, at 7:45am Paris time (GMT+2).

 

  

 

Whatever be the diverse reactions to Ari Folman's first entry in Cannes, the Israeli director has created a landmark in cinema history. The "animated documentary" is born. 

 

Therein lies the paradox. how can a documentary, whose essence is cinematographic reality, fuse with animation, a genre that depends on the imaginary?

 

Folman unites the two in a manner yet unseen. Real characters, real experiences, real memories - but depicted as animated characters 

 

Folman narrates his quest to recall forgotten memories of the Lebanon war in the 1980's. In doing so, not only does he create a genre that is uncomfortably indefinable, but presents a facet of the Israeli army rarely seen on the silver screen - a misguided confusion. Trigger-happy Israeli youngsters shoot the enemy like in a video game, scarcely realising the purpose of their mission. 

 

Folman, in particular, raises the existential issue of memory. Does the mind alter the past? Do we remember what we would like to? 

 

These unanswered questions leave the spectator deeply contemplative, especially during the final images where  animation gives way to real, stark footage of the war.

 

Folman's majestic effort will probably not win him the Golden Palm, as the prize is usually not awarded to first-time directors. But it would be really surprising if he walks away empty-handed. The special jury prize (Prix du Jury) seems more than fitting...

 

Check out web correspondent Arnab Banerjee’s video blog.

 

 

Watch the entire show by clicking "The Cannes Reports" in the right column.

 

 

Date created : 2008-05-17

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