This extraordinary animated film captures director Air Folman's struggle to recover his lost memories of what he saw and what he did during Israel's ill-fated 1980s war in Lebanon.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
A declaration of cinema's power to entrammel us in extremity and a filmmaker‘s power to cleave to his own complex experience with such fearlessness that it infiltrates the wider consciousness. Ari Folman‘s incendiary exposure of his own part as a drafted Israeli soldier in abetting a 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees stunned audiences at Cannes this year. The blogosphere rages with theories as to why this brilliantly original, shattering film left the Festival prizeless. — BG
"If any of us were wondering why an unknown Israeli director‘s animated quasi-documentary about a largely forgotten war was scheduled so prominently [at Cannes], we‘re not wondering now... Waltz with Bashir is a remarkable, haunting and intense work, quite unlike any animated film I‘ve ever seen... Hand drawn in a crude, colorful underground-comics style, it captures Folman‘s struggle to recapture his lost memories of what he saw and what he did during Israel‘s ill-fated 1980s war in Lebanon... While trying to work his way out of a severe depression, Folman contacted many of his former military comrades, along with a psychiatrist friend and a neurologist who specializes in memory impairment. The film combines pieces of these interviews with fragmentary episodes drawn from these men‘s memories, dreams and perhaps fantasies... At least in part, the subject of Waltz with Bashir is the unreliable and fantastic quality of memory itself... It‘s a provocative, strange and arresting film, whose unusual blend of style and substance should reach a large worldwide audience." — Andrew O‘Hehir, Salon.com
The filmmaker Ari Folman was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) at the time of the 1982 massacres of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The massacre was carried out by Lebanese Christian Phalangist militiamen, abetted by rings of Israeli forces that surrounded the camps. Folman was amongst the soldiers in the rings outside Sabra and Shatila.