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Film Details

Directed by: Ari Folman

Produced: 2008

Countries & Regions: France, Germany, Israel

DVD Details

Certificate: 18

Length: 90 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 30 March 2009

Cat No: ART414DVD

Extras:
Anamorphic (16:9)
Languages(s): Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1

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Waltz with Bashir

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Powerfully anti-war animated documentary by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman. The film explores a period in Folman’s life when he was... Read More

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Powerfully anti-war animated documentary by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman. The film explores a period in Folman’s life when he was enlisted as a teenage soldier in the first Lebanon war in the early 1980s, during which time he was present at the massacre of Palestinian refugees by a Christian Phalangist militia. Looking back, Folman realises that he has blocked out practically all memories of this horrific event. Resolving to face up to this missing chapter of his past, he embarks on a voyage of self-discovery involving interviews with old friends and former colleagues from around the world. As he delves deeper into the mystery, his dreams and memories begin to surface, and these are represented in the film’s eerie and often surreal animated sequences.

For centuries war and peace has been about good guys and bad guys - if you are not my friend you are my enemy. 'We can do no wrong' and 'they (the enemy - troops and civilians alike) are evil'. Ari's amazing film blows these stereotypes away: it is the mystery of him and his friends unlocking the post trauma amnesia of witnessing horrific massacres in Beirut c 1982. They were teenagers with guns in a world where suddenly nothing was safe - for them or anyone else. This is not about heroes said Ari at the London premier. It is about a place where one of my friends was doing aid work at the time - as much courage without a gun. It catches the atmosphere of Lebanon from city to beaches and olive groves with haunting music - try the trailers at www.waltzwithbashir.com Language was not an issue - subtitles and action were crystal clear. This is a peace film created in a region torn by too many wars. It speaks truth to the madness of war in a way that may be understood by all sides. It is a tribute to those who lived, who died and all those who were traumatised. Brilliant teen cult animations! Not easy to see or find - collector's special?

Filmmaker Ari Folman has taken a singular path in exploring his past – Waltz with Bashir follows this former Israeli soldier as he struggles to remember the events that occurred during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. His journey begins when a friend relates a recurring nightmare in which twenty-six hellish dogs pursue him through a city. They realise there’s a connection to events that occurred during their time in the army, but Ari is bewildered – he can’t remember anything from this period in his life. Intrigued, he begins to seek out former comrades asking them what they can remember about the war, gradually homing in on a particular event that his subconscious is very keen for him to forget.

Waltz with Bashir is a borderline documentary. Folman’s interviews and the stories and memories revealed through them have been recreated in uniquely styled animation – a mesmerising blend of comic book illustration, Flash art and photo realism. Put alongside some carefully selected music it results in a singular viewing experience that transports the viewer into the realm of their memories, a place that veers from the surreal to the visceral. Few films have dealt with memory – tricksy, formative and intangible – as effectively as this one and it’s the animation that makes this possible. Somehow it’s more appropriate. The visuals are so engaging that if it wasn’t for the tough material later in the film this could easily have become a stoner’s choice for viewing pleasure. But this is not a flippant piece of filmmaking – quite the opposite. You’re left with an honest impression of war from a soldier’s perspective that is, crucially, unmarred by politics.

Nominated at all the major award ceremonies this year but winning few, Waltz hasn’t received the recognition it deserves and it would be a real shame if audiences missed out. An Israeli war movie is a tough sell and, ironically for a film that succeeds in being non-political, it is politics that seem to be hampering its prospects. It does not seek to level accusations or present heroes or villains, it is simply humane.

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