Among the handful of titles Sony Pictures Classics snatched up for American distribution at the conclusion of the Cannes Film Festival, the animated Israeli documentary Waltz with Bashir makes the most sense. While Tyson certainly has potential to alter the public perception of the country's infamous boxer, and Lorna's Silence has appeal for crime fans and art house aficionados alike, both movies could perform well regardless of which distributor picked them up (more or less). Bashir, on the other hand, has SPC written all over it: Relentlessly downbeat and frequently unsettling, Bashir is director Ari Folman's account of his 1982 experience in the Israeli military during the infamous massacre of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The animated approach sometimes has a gimmicky feel to it, but that's probably the point; Folman's memories are so foggy that his reconstructions of them seem plausibly unrealistic.

Bashir
isn't easy to get into, but you could say that about Thomas Pynchon, too. What we have here is an animated movie for grown-ups, which puts it squarely in SPC's line of expertise. The company has guided many mature animated films to audiences in a manner unparalleled by their colleagues. Last year, talented SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard commandeered the releases of the outlandish anime Paprika and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, and the latter film very nearly won an Oscar. Remember The Triplets of Belleville? That was them, too. These people know their stuff. Listen up, guys: I hear Bill Plympton's new movie is quite good.