Taking Substance D and Waltzing with Bashir!

I have been lucky enough to have purchased both of these titans of animated film on dvd, I bought them because of their visual style. Both films where shot digitally then rotoscoped, which is a form of drawing over footage, this process gives both films a very unique visual impact. The films are critically acclaimed, not just because of their aesthetic qualities but also because of the narratives that are present. To start with A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater based upon the novel by Philip K Dick its characters are brought to life through household names. Such as Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Downey Jr all give superb performances. This film is primarily about paranoia sustained by the consumption of this mysterious Substance D, through the opening credits your introduced to a character suffering from the imaginary itches. Its clever how your taken on a journey through an example of what could happen in contemporary drug policing. Its scary in many different ways because its not that far from being possible, its grounded in a very realistic portrayal of the drug fuelled, hyper active, perspective of a regular user. Thus when the protagonists have moments of pure unregulated conspiracy and doubts then you feel that it is warranted. As the boundaries between right and wrong vanish you as a viewer, an audience member are left pondering what will happen. One of my favourite elements of this film is the suit the main character wears, is mad, it shields the identity of the wearer completely through merging as many different faces as possible. Its almost like a scrambler constantly shifting from one individual to the next, all in all this is a great film with great moments of dialogue. Enjoy your journey towards the blue flower fields!



The other film Waltz with Bashir is darker, equally beautiful, but darker. As a film thats about an individual attempting to revisit his imperfect memory of massacres and atrocities in Beirut Lebanon 1982. This film documents the decision of Isreali forces to allow Christian Phalangist militia to enter Palestinian refugee camps, a decision that resulted in the slaughter of innocent civilians. Between seven hundred and sixty two towards three thousand five hundred Palestinian, Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, Algerian, and Pakistani people lost their lives.  The Israeli Ari Folman’s film could be criticised as too Israeli centric and casts the victims as faceless bodies, they are not named and are not really characters. However this criticism is the only one which has any validity, as the films effort to visualise how the narrator presided over mass murder is important. The film is staggered between conversations and surreal flashbacks that tell the story of what happened, in my opinion this is a very genuine attempt at acknowledging a major atrocity. Furthermore the film deserves its famous status because it does not hold back in projecting and portraying its opinion and stance. Which subject to the odd discrepancy and grumble about a lack of presence from the historical victims, this film is a ‘tour de force’ of anti-conflict and ant-war creativity. If only more individuals who have born witness to the futility and absolute waste which is war, would come forward and attempt to vocalise thoughts on such horrific embarrassing moments in human history. Then the global community would remember to lament the loss of life that is a constant for some citizens in some parts of this world. Also one last thought, I would bet that the director now feels much better after completing and releasing this project. One could easily imagine this individual experiencing catharsis through the making of this film, a film which actually raises lots of questions surrounding war and how the media has shown and covered huge losses of life.




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