Waltz with Bashir
Animation & War | In Hebrew with English subtitles | 90 minutes | 2008
An unusual Israeli animated war documentary that’s rated “R.” The film was written, produced and directed by Ari Folman. Ari was a 19-year old IDF (Israel Defense Force) infantry soldier during the war in Lebanon. Years later, a friend who served with him, tells Ari about nightmares he was having about this war. Ari cannot recall anything except having a faint vision of the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Ari’s friend urges him to seek others who were in the same unit in Lebanon and record their stories and recollections. Ari also contacts a psychologist and Ron Ben-Yishi, a TV reporter, who covered the war. As Ari compiles a record of what happened, he realizes that his amnesia was caused by his horrific awareness of what happened. That night, Christian militia brutally murdered 3,000 Palestinian refugees while Israeli soldiers, including Ari, looked on. Ari felt that only by making this an animated film could he vividly and completely describe this nightmare.
Why Screen This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 96% 96%
- Metacritic Score 91% 91%
Academy Awards: The first animated film to have received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globes: Best Foreign Language Film
Best Foreign Language Film: British Independent Film Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards, Festival du Nouveau Cinema.
Top Ten Lists: LA Weekly (#1), The Hollywood Reporter (#1), The Village Voice (#5), The Globe and Mail (#6), The Wall Street Journal (#9), The Christian Science Monitor (#9)
Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival
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Directed by Ari Folman, it’s the Israeli filmmaker’s struggle to make sense of his experience as a soldier in the Lebanon war of 1982. But Mr. Folman has gone further, creating something that is not only unique but also exemplary; a work of astonishing aesthetic integrity and searing moral power. WALTZ WITH BASHIR will certainly enrich and complicate your understanding of its specific subject, but it may also change the way you think about how movies can confront history.
Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s extraordinary and painfully timed autobiographical documentary of remembered life during wartime is high up on my list list of top 10 films. Folman uses animation as a way to face memories that might otherwise be unbearable, or even unretrievable. In its own distinct way, the movie makes serious, political use of the freeing possibilities of animation.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR is a devastating animated film that tries to reconstruct how and why thousands of innocent civilians were massacred because those with power to stop them took no action. Folman used animation as it was the best way to reconstruct memories, fantasies, hallucinations, possibilities, past and present. This film would be nearly impossible to make any other way.
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