“Waltz with Bashir” Banned in Lebanon

Ari Folman
Ari Folman

With the publication of the  new graphic novel adaptation of Ari Folman’s, “Waltz with Bashir,( see below for the graphic pages), it is interesting to remember that despite the interdiction to screen the movie in Lebanon the opposite occured…” just a week ago was the animated movie  given its first underground screening in Lebanon — not far, in fact, from Hezbollah headquarters in southern Beirut — though the film is officially banned in that country. It has also been screened in Palestinian Ramallah and is reportedly soon to be shown in the Arab Gulf states.”… see  here.

Menassat.com , a Lebanese website focusing on news trends and events reports :

…”Whether Waltz With Bashir wins the Oscar for Foreign Film or not, audiences in Lebanon—the subject of the film—will not get to see it on the big screen. Like all Israeli products, Ari Folman’s film is banned in Lebanon. Except, that is, for a few lucky people in Beirut last Saturday”…

…”Mitri,  (Lebanese Information Minister) who says he opposes censorship, admitted to Agence France-Presse that “the ban is absurd because you can download it on YouTube.”

“We need to abolish that law so that we can see films like this and any other films and then, if you abolish the censorship law we have, then whoever is harmed can take the matter to court,” Mitri said”…

The Menassat interviewer asked Monica Burgmann, who run UMAM and the private screening of Walts with Bashir:  how did people react to the movie?

BURGMANN: “When the movie was over there was total silence. There was not even a discussion. But I noticed that the film touched many people. Some even had tears in their eyes. One person told me, ‘I envy this Israeli filmmaker because he was able to document a history us Lebanese, should have documented.’

Another question was…” Do you really think that the ban is because of the boycott of Israeli goods? Or are there other reasons, such as preventing sectarian clashes? ”

BURGMANN: “I think the Lebanese civil war is taboo. I also think that there is not enough effort to document the Lebanese history. They use sectarian clashes as an excuse… Can’t they see that looking into our past can really prevent us from making the same mistakes twice?”

For the full article see here. More can be see here On Ya Libnan, (‘Waltz with Bashir’ film copies in Beirut despite ban).

With the release of the graphic novel, here is an excerpt of the interview by Liel Leibovitz with David Polonsky, the artist behind the  novel, telling his part of the story, I quote:

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David Polonsky
David Polonsky

“In film,” he said, “you, the artist, have the audience in your hands. You control the flow of time. In comics, the reader holds you in his hands, and he controls time. Another difference is that the film appeals more to the heart, while the book appeals more to the mind, because the reader is expected to use his imagination much more. So the book, I think, is more suitable to convey the information, to tell the story in details, and the film has more of an emotional impact. I think people cry in the end of the film, and I don’t expect anyone to shed tears after reading the novel.”

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Waltz with Bashir
The graphic novel: Waltz with Bashir

The discrepancies between the two media became immediately clear to him when, following the film’s success, he began to adapt his original artwork into graphic novel form.

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“The drawings were all made especially for the film,” he said. “We did not originally think of turning it into a graphic novel. The book, then, turned out to be much more of a learning experience for me. I learned a lot about the medium of comics. The main thing I hope I gained as an artist is the ability to give up a strong image in favor of a strong story line: I already had the drawings, the building blocks, but the goal of the book was to convey the story as a whole, and I sometimes had to let go of beautiful artwork in favor of the narrative. For me, that’s a very important lesson.”….

…”Still, he added, two rules guided him as he created the often surreal world of Waltz with Bashir.

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“The first guideline,” he said, “was to create a feeling of authenticity. There’s an emphasis on the feeling, because, for all of the reasons we just discussed, like the fact that I wasn’t there, you can’t create something that is truly authentic. The second guideline, put simply, is compassion. I wanted to draw people, not caricatures. I wanted to try and load up everything—the cars, the people, the animals—with a real sense of existence.”…for the full interview see here.

Tomdispatch.com released, in two parts, pages from the graphic novel adaptation of  “Waltz with Bashir”. Here are 6 beautiful pages  from he graphic novel.

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waltz014

waltz041

waltz23

waltz73

waltz851

waltz91

For more pages see here, (part 1 release) and  here,( part 2 release) on Tomdispatch.com .