Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ari Folman on Waltz With Bashir

Sage advice for all storytellers: Start strong. Waltz With Bashir certainly does. *woof woof*

26 raging dogs terrorize a man in Waltz With Bashir's opening dream sequence

Have you seen it yet? (In the comments: What movies grabbed you with their very first moments this past year?)

When I met Ari Folman, shortly before the holiday break I was conscious of starting strong myself. I heard him mention to his publicist that he was on his 700th interview (that's probably not an exaggeration given how long Waltz With Bashir has been working the festival and awards circuit) so when I sat down I threw out this opening volley "Which question are you most sick of answering?" I planned to scratch it comically off my note pad should I have planned to ask it. He made me guess. I failed but it was a good ice breaker as we chatted about his movie. Turns out he's been asked "Why animation?" too many times in reference to this war memories documentary. He always intended Bashir to be an animated film... even before one word was written.

I met with him for Tribeca Film and here's the piece.

Related Pages:
Animated and Foreign Language Film Oscar Races, Golden Globes, National Society of Film Critics Win


Popcorn and Cigarettes said...

I would venture to say that Waltz with Bashir has one of the best opening sequences of any film this year. It was terrifying and kept my attention wholly on the screen.

I thought some other films that grabbed me within their opening minutes were Doubt, The Dark Knight, Blindness, The Brothers Bloom.

Kurtis O said...

I'm sure it will be many folks' response, but "The Dark Knight" had me from its blue flame-wreathed hello. Others that intrigued me immediately include "In Bruges," "Reprise," "Burn After Reading" (which quite literally sucks you in), and "Man on Wire."

Mikadzuki said...

In addition to what has already been said, I loved the long zoom from outer space and eerie canned music that kicks off WALL-E.

Glenn said...

I didn't get to see Waltz at cinemas - it's reaction in America seems to be more positive than it was down here - but it should be on DVD within a month or so.

In terms of opening scenes I'd throw my hat in the ring for Australia. It's big and messy and a lot of people hate what it was doing but it's entirely representative of the film. And The Dark Knight, just to be boring.


i didn't go crazy for that bank heist in DARK KNIGHT (it took me while to settle into the film --it was very chaotic storytelling for awhile what with all that time spend on legal stuff that i can't even remember). but i don't remember a "blue flame wreathed hello" Kurtis mentions.

so i shall look again --i had planned to watch again before some of these awards.

ChillwithWill said...

I can tell you what did NOT have an intriguing opening...BENJAMIN BUTTON. In the end, I enjoyed the movie, but the beginning felt sooo cliche and slow. It took about 20 minutes before I felt like I was watching something original.

Jose said...

For me it's a tie between the awkwardly brilliant combination of sci-fi and Broadway in "WALL-E" and that song (it still plays in my head), followed by that pan at the airport in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona".

adam k. said...

I have to join in the chorus of fans of the WALL•E opening. Cute robots + kitchy showtunes + a post-apocalytpic earth = perfection.

Anonymous said...

My top 3 in no particular order:
"In Bruges" (I love Colin Farrell in this and I'm very happy for your screenplay nod)
- Bruges is a shithole.
- Bruges is not a shithole.
- It is a shithole
- I know it's going to be a shithole.
- Shithole.
"Kung Fu Panda"
Dreamworks logo and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" scene - hilarious, dynamic and strong despite not being really original.
"Tropic Thunder" - trailers.

I also liked "Happy-Go-Lucky"'s bookstore scene, although it works better as the introduction of character than the opening.


jnb987 said...

The Tropic Thunder trailers were indeed hilarious... might have been the highlights of the movie right up front!

WALL•E, though, takes the cake this year for me with "Put on Your Sunday Clothes". Listening to Andrew Stanton describe the process of synching up tons of showtunes to the opening shots until he found that one (in an interview with NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross) made me love that movie even more.

Other ones for honorable mention: Definitely, Maybe's "Everyday People" opening and Forgetting Sarah Marshalls' fake "Entertainment Tonight" rip.