Waltz With Bashir


Directed by: Ari Folman
Written by:Ari Folman
Starring: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ari Folman, Dror Harazi, Yehezkel Lazarov, Mickey Leon
Released: September 11, 2008
Grade: A-

It was only a few weeks ago that I was writing about an amazing foreign language animated film called Persepolis.  Well, guess what?  I’ve seen another great foreign language animated film!  It’s as if we’re creating a new genre!  The film is called Waltz With Bashir.  It won’t be rivalling The Dark Knight in terms of ticket sales but it is worthy of your time if you love quality cinema.

The film is based around the war between Israel and Lebanon which took place in 1982.  After years of being bombed by the Lebanese, the Israeli government sent in their military.  The plan was to seize control of the 40km security zone across the border.  This would prevent the Lebanese from launching missiles which could reach Israeli soil.

It wasn’t widely known but the Israeli Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon (who would later become the Israeli Prime Minister), had another plan.  He pushed his troops further into Lebanon in an attempt to occupy Beirut, the capital city.  He believed that if he could take control of the country and appoint a new President, they would no longer be a threat to Israel.

Director Ari Folman was an Israeli solider during that war.  This film is his way of showing people the atrocities that took place.  This may sound strange but the film is kind of like a documentary.  Foleman obtained interviews with friends who fought alongside him in Beirut as well as others who were involved.  These interviews make up most of the script.

Foleman then shot the film on video and had a team of animators transform it into what you see on screen.  It took a month to draw just 4 minutes worth of animation.  It sounds similar to the techniques used by director Richard Linklater when he made A Scanner Darkly in 2006. 

Don’t let me put you off by thinking this a boring history lesson.  There’s an interesting story being told against the backdrop of the Lebanon War.  It centres around Foleman today and how he is struggling to remember the events from 25 years ago.  His suppressed memories are jolted by an old friend who tells him about a strange dream.  This starts Foleman on his quest to find out what part he actually played in the horrific war.

Waltz With Bashir took four years to make but it was well worth the effort.