Israeli anti-war animation flick will shoot for Best Foreign Film accolades on Oscar night in February.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The Israeli animated film Waltz with Bashir has snagged a nomination for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences announced Thursday.
Bashir marks the second year in a row that an Israeli film has received a nomination for an Academy Award, after last year's Beaufort, which was set against the backdrop of the IDF withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.
This year's nominee comes full circle, recalling its director's experiences during the First Lebanon War in 1982. Ari Folman's innovative documentary recently won a Golden Globe Award and was voted the best picture of 2008 by the National Society of Film Critics. The Golden Globe is widely considered a precursor to the Academy Awards and movies winning Golden Globes often later garner Oscar statuettes as well.
Waltz with Bashir is unorthodox as a documentary for its use of animation throughout the movie, only employing documentary footage in its last moments. The film deals with Folman's own experience of Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982, later known as the opening stage of the First Lebanon War.
Through the sole vague memory he holds from his war experience, Folman's animated alter-ego goes on a physical and mental journey, visiting old friends, talking to them about their own war experiences and little by little piecing together a horrible narrative that, the film hints, his mind had repressed because of the atrocities he witnessed as a young infantryman.
The film focuses on the war's most troubling episode - the massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian Phalangists in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut.
The film garnered wide acclaim in Israel, with both critics and the public, also winning several awards at the Ophirs, Israel's official film awards ceremony.
The other films nominated in the Best Foreign Film category are: The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany); The Class (France); Departures (Japan); and Revanche (Austria).
The 81st Oscars will be presented on February 22 at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
Hannah Brown and AP contributed to this report.
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