Looking at the above image you might think Waltz with Bashir is an anime, but appearances can be deceiving as this actually is a documentary. Director Ari Folman was part of the Israel Defense Forces when they invaded Lebanon in 1982, starting the Lebanon War. Talking to an old friend he hears his nightmare and is surprised that he can not remember anything about it. He does dream about something which he can’t completely explain and decides to meet up with other who were in Beirut to find out if he can remember what he experienced.
As you are watching you are not really aware that this is a documentary as it is animated and also shows things like dreams. Folman shot the footage on video and based on that created storyboards which were then animated. It took 4 years to make and was done using Flash (instead of the more traditional rotoscoping), which has given this film a very distinct look. Although the story it tells is very bleak, the visuals are amazing and beautiful to see.
As the movie progresses you find out about the horrors that took place in Beirut (it uses a lot of flashbacks as the other veterans are telling their story) and the final shot will haunt you for days.
Waltz with Bashir was the first animated film nominated for a best foreign language film and it’s easy to understand why. It’s not afraid to show the horrors which took place in Lebanon and is very disturbing. It’s style somehow makes it seem less real, but knowing the background (that this is a documentary) and that these events did take place makes it an important document showing a dark side of Israel’s history.