“Waltz With Bashir” (2008) is an autobiographical animated documentary from Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman (“Made in Israel”, “The Congress”), retelling his involvement in the 1982 Lebanon War that culminated in the atrocious Sabra and Shatila massacre.
Opening in 2006, 40-something Folman meets with a friend in Israel to describe the horrific nightmares he has been experiencing related to his participation in the Lebanon War. Surprised to realize that he has no distinct memories of the war, Folman sets out to speak with friends and other veterans of the historical invasion of southern Lebanon. His ensuing exchanges slowly help him to piece together a patchwork of recollection related to the brutal conflict, including his own peripheral support of the infamous massacre of Palestinian refugees.
Utterly harrowing yet crafted with passion and remarkable candor, Folman delivers a stark and at times surrealistic confessional to the audience as a unique form of personal catharsis. It’s brave and revelatory storytelling, made all-the-more absorbing by its unusual and progressive use of animation to deliver Folman’s story. It’s a profound, one-of-a-kind historical exposé and a sterling example of first-rate international cinema.
View the trailer: