49 of 96 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Propaganda, 18 Feb. 2009
A PR exercise, Watz with Bashir is as propagandistic a film as it gets. But let me get this right: this is as propagandistic as many other American war movies about Vietnam, for instance. Not the old fashion, obvious stuff we normally brand propaganda, but a more subtle, sophisticated, nicely crafted type of it.
1) ALL Palestinians in the animation are portrayed as bloodthirsty terrorists.
Even children, like the boy firing this bazooka towards the soldiers in the orchard, are terrorists. Palestinians have no names, they do not speak in the film, and they are almost faceless. They are even shown pissing near to the Israeli dead bodies after the attack on the Israeli tank convoy.
2) But Palestinian presence is only marginal in the film really, the main scope of all this is to show Israeli veterans as VICTIMS in the country they were actually occupying.
It is estimated that around 18,000 Lebanese were killed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. But these soldiers are devastated at having to destroy these barking dogs as they attacked a sleepy village. Or they realize about the horrors of war only at the sight of these poor little horses of the hippodrome. After twenty years Folman himself seems to be living in denial and does not remember a thing. He finds comfort in whiskey, joints and therapy. And yes, you have to feel sorry for these soldiers, as their portrayal as victims is now complete. And if you did not buy into that so far, then the Holocaust is timely mentioned at one point in the film.
3) When it comes to clarify the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, the film puts the blame on someone else. Isn't it very subtle?
Quite rightly. The message is that the Israelis pretty much just fired the flares, but did not perpetrate the massacre, which seems pretty much a relief. But actual historic facts show that the Sabra and Shatila camps had been under the tight control of Israeli Defence Forces for months and prevented the civilians from fleeing the camps while the massacre was taking place. The massacre lasted three full days and two full nights, whereas in the movie looks like it took a couple of hours. Even the Kahan Commission report acknowledged that senior officers were fully aware of what was going on while this was taking place, if not well in advance. Also, nothing is said about the fact that the Phalangists were acting in the war as a proxy army funded by the Israelis and, obviously, the film does not show that the Phalangist militias were transported into the camps in Jeeps provided by guess who, the Israeli Defence Forces. The list can go on and on.
But hey I only fired the flares!
Phalangists and Israeli Defence forces were partners in crime, simply put. Israelis killed no refugees, right, but facilitated the massacre. Period.
The rest is an appalling exercise of PR. Nicely crafted, but are these guys really going to get away with that? Well, in the meantime we stop talking about what happened in Gaza recently. No worries, in twenty years time another Israeli animation will explain to us how to interpret that also.