1 hour, 30 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for some disturbing images of atrocities, strong violence, brief nudity and a scene of graphic sexual content.
Commentary with director Ari Folman; Surreal soldiers: making Waltz with Bashir; Q&A with Ari Folman; Building the scenes-animatics.
|Ari Folman's very personal war documentary concerns the period when he was an Israeli
soldier in 1982 during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We meet the filmmaker and his two youthful comrades, but Folman cannot seem to remember what he did or, for that matter,
what he did not do while serving in the Israeli army in
Lebanon in the days leading up to the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Early on, Boaz,
Folman's good friend and fellow soldier, recalls a recurring nightmare
he has about a battalion of wild dogs running through the streets of Tel Aviv. He realizes that the dream originated when they were ordered to shot all the dogs in the small towns to ensure that
they wouldn't bark and let the the Palestinians know they were about to be attacked.
Most of Waltz with Bashir, a spellbinding mixture of classic, and graphic 3-D animation, is comprised of
interviews with a dozen or so of Folman's fellow combatants, along with a
psychologist and Ron Ben-Yishai, a television reporter who was present during the attacks that lead to the massacres,
revealed in the film's finale and which served as retribution for the
assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Christian
Phalangists and president-elect of Lebanon.
Although, like the Israeli army, Folman never directly took part in
the massacre, his guilt is that he allowed it to happen, even lighting up the sky with
flares to make sure the Phalangists weren't murdering their own. His
psychologist friend tells him he unwillingly took on the role of the
Nazis, a fact that reaches back to stories Folman had heard from his parents about the days when they were imprisoned in
Auschwitz. It is only in the final moments of the film when the screen switches from Folman's animated version to actual documentary footage of the massacre's aftermath that the complete weight of the film moves to rest completely on the shoulders of the audience and you are left stunned.