Film: Waltz with Bashir


Director: Ari Floman
Note: Animated documentary in Hebrew with subtitle

In brief: Not a movie about dancing! When a friend tells Ari about a recurring nightmare with 26 dogs and its relationship to the 1982 war in Lebanon, Ari begins thinking about his own war experiences. Unable to piece together his memories into a coherent account, he sets out to mine the memories of his friends and fellow soldiers. Ari has a vision that may or may not be real… of himself and a few others on a beach at the time of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres in Lebanon.

Ari’s memories and those of his fellow soldiers have a surreal quality that is well suited to the animation technique. Blending dreams, distorted memories and actual memories, this documentary gives us insights into the psychological effects of war… and shows us that Israeli soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, just like our own soldiers. For the most part, the voices and likenesses are those of the actual people interviewed by Ari in his quest for understanding.

Americans can appreciate this film more with a refresher of some Israeli/Lebanese history… “Bashir” was the Christian party’s Bashir Gemayel, who was assassinated only a month after he won the Lebanese presidential election. Four days later in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, 3,000 Palestinians were slaughtered by Christian Phalangists to avenge Bashir’s assassination. In 1983, Israel’s Kahan Commission found that the Israeli military, responsible for guarding the perimeter of the camps, had had indirect responsible in the massacre. What that meant for individual solders is one of the topics of this documentary.

popcorn rating

2 popped kernels

Popped kernels for interesting historic content. Didn't totally love the way the script was developed, but enjoyed it anyway.

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