Waltz With Bashir - English subtitled

Animation masterpiece in which Ari Folman explores how soldiers deal with trauma and guilt. Partly based on Folman’s own experiences in the war in Lebanon.

Time & Tickets

With WALTZ WITH BASHIR, Ari Folman delivered a virtuoso anti-war film, which can safely be included in lists of the best war films of all time. Most extraordinary of all is the form Folman chose for his film: animation. The overwhelming opening scene sets the tone: a pack of bloodthirsty dogs make their way through Tel Aviv panting and growling loudly. It is a scene that immediately shows that animation can be just as intense and frightening as real images.

In the autobiographical WALTZ WITH BASHIR, Ari Folman reconstructs the massacre committed by Christian Phalangists in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. The Israeli army stood by and watched. One of the accomplices that night was Folman, but for more than twenty years he barely remembered any of the horrific scenes. His memory was faltering. It prompted Folman to make this film about how memory works. With psychologists, veteran friends, and eyewitnesses, he tries to reconstruct his own war past.

The choice for animation was quickly made. Without animation, WALTZ WITH BASHIR would have been a traditional documentary full of talking heads. Folman wanted to avoid that, but at the same time his animation film had to be as realistic as possible. Therefore, he had all the interviews videotaped first. The next step was to draw 3,500 keyframes at crucial points in the movie. In beautifully stylized, almost entirely monochrome drawings, Folman brings to life the war memories and dreams of his comrades in arms. It produces unforgettable images: of a little boy with a grenade launcher being shot, while we hear Bach on the soundtrack. A giant water nymph clutches a soldier to her breasts and carries him away. Naked boys emerge from the sea with their weapons in hand and pull into a tattered Beirut. When Folman briefly abandons the animation form in the closing seconds of the film and shows authentic footage of the mass slaughter for the first time, it has the effect of a sledgehammer.

Ari Folman, Germany, France, Israël, 2008, 90 min. Hebrew & German spoken, English subtitles.