By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
How was Waltz With Bashir received in Israel?
There was no political debate at all. It got a very warm welcome from all parties. The only criticism I got was from the very left wing saying that the film doesn’t take enough blame. The right wing hugged it even in really extreme papers — they thought it was a very personal story. I was expecting the worst as usual, but even the Israeli government pays to send us all over the world, because they figure that the film shows Israel as a very tolerant country, at least toward her artists, who are supported by government funds. In France we had more than 500,000 admissions, and our government realized that in France most people didn’t know that Israeli troops didn’t carry out the massacre. When half a million people go to the cinema they understand that it was worth showing the idea of Israel not at its best, in order to gain some points elsewhere.
Do you worry that people, particularly on the European left, would use the film as a stick with which to beat Israel?
Beat what? I couldn’t care less. There’s nothing in the film that was not already said. You must understand that after the second Lebanon war in 2006, a lot of soldiers refused to serve, and it was published in the newspapers. Nothing happened. Some of them were treated as ... not heroes, but it was perceived that they saved the lives of other soldiers. There was a very famous event when a young reserve officer refused to go. He said, “I’m not going in with my soldiers, they will die for nothing, they are not prepared.” They were thinking of trying him, but they knew that the trial would do so much damage. So my film, released two years later, was nothing compared to reality.
This must have been a period of great turmoil for you. Were you also in therapy?
It’s like sitting in front of a shrink and talking. I used to belong to that cult, but I’m out now. I’m not a believer anymore. It’s too cheap to just turn it into psychotherapy, into repressed memory. It’s not that I went through the experience and then lost my memory. There are missing parts. When I was released from service I did a lot in order to forget. I disconnected my strings with people who were with me. A lot came back during the process of making the movie. It was not awful, because I don’t treat it as a nightmare. I was going through major changes throughout those four years. I became 40, and from being single and really free, I became a father of three, and I made this film — everything happened together. I think that one of the reasons I made this film was because I became a father.
I optioned a Stanislaw Lem book, The Futurological Congress. I’m going to do it as part animation, part live action, with an American actress in English. It’s a big European co-production. It’s a very complicated novel, and I want to use the invention we have in Waltz for fiction and see if it works.
You’ve already broken down the division between fiction and nonfiction in Waltz.
It’s about time. ’Cause I think the division is really boring.
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