Waltz with Bashir (2008)

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.

Score: 8

Trailer:

10 thoughts on “Waltz with Bashir (2008)

    • Yeah, its look is so unique and I prefer it to the style that was used in A Scanner Darkly. You have no strange warping in this.

  1. The visuals look amazing, I have to check this one out. I’ve heard that it’s kind of heartbreaking to watch, but makes it all the more intriguing.

  2. You always see movies that I’m interested in. I had this in my Netflix queue for so long, but just never got around to it. Love the animation style of this one.

  3. Wow I had no idea this was a documentary! I’ve seen the graphic novel about and always compared it with Persepolis because they both look pretty unique. Really looking forward to checking this one out now.

    • I probably wouldn’t have known either if it wasn’t for its inclusion in a top 50 list of best documentaries which was aired a while ago. Still have to watch Persepolis, which as you say has a very unique look. Hope you give this one a chance, although it will have impact on you.

  4. I’ve been wanting to watch the movie for ages. Once they were showing it in India but I could tell it was censored so I skipped it. That it is a documentary is news to me. Now I badly need to watch it.

    • Yeah, it’s obvious from the trailer that it is censored as well (the woman was naked in the version I saw). Hope you manage to watch it!

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