Stacey and I had the opportunity to go to Columbia, MO the weekend of Feb. 27-Mar. 1 for the T/F Film Festival. The “T/F’ stands for “True – False”. We really enjoyed the event, even though it was like an icebox as far as weather was concerned. I wanted to explain what the intention behind the title True – False, and spend a few posts sharing my thoughts about the films I viewed over that weekend.
The T/F title is a bit of an indicator of what type of film one might expect at the festival. The movies are documentaries with touches of drama. The T/F aspect tries to envision a film that presents a message that rings true to us, but may also capture the tension or troubles that are mixed into arriving at that truth or accepting that truth, i.e. falsity gets mixed into our lives and sometimes its really hard, if not impossible, to exclude things that are false from the package we get. Let me write about the films and maybe that will shed some light on this.
For this post I’ll quickly share about Waltz with Bashir. This was unlike all the other films I watched during the weekend. It was mostly animated. This mode of presentation is a great example of the T/F dichotomy in action. First the subject is very serious. It was about a massacre the occurred in Lebanon in 1982 at the hands of Christian Philanges and dispondent Israeli forces. The animated medium cast the tone as comical because that’s what we’re used to fromt this medium, but the subject was deathly serious. The medium is helpful in depicting the surreal aspect that it takes on as the main character is trying to remember this event, but seems to have blocked it out of his mind. The animation serves to create dream world plumbing the characters mind and memory of the event. That dichotomy gets at the heart of T/F.
I found Waltz difficult to follow and not rising to the point of really helping me feel the tension of why someone would want to suppress the travesty of such an event. Although the animation allowed many ideas and recreation to occur of an event that was not caught on film, it fell short in being the vehicle that pulled me in. In my mind a major oversight was not giving really any context to the subject of the film. Maybe that is an oversight on my part in not being up to snuff on international affairs in the 1980’s, but I think to appeal more widely and allow the audience to start off on the same page, it would have been beneficial. [spoiler] The story pulls an animated twist at the end by changing to actual footage of the carnage left in the wake of the massacre. This does cause a deeper empathy for the plight of the Lebanese as the victims of this. For me, it also raised the question as to why the Israelis did not act? That is the sad part. Whether the character wanted to block the event out or not, how could you not act to save these people. The truth-humanity is valuable enough to overcome bias and tragedy, false- that the people deserved it even though many resisted. I’d recommend renting Waltz but nothing further.