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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2009
Hagai Levi, creator of the Israeli TV show 'Be'Tipul' - which became in turn the inspiration for the latest HBO phenomenon, 'In Treatment', currently championed in the UK by The Guardian - said of Israel that "one of our problems as a nation is that in our mind we are still survivors, and sometimes we think that we can do awful things to others because we are survivors." Both 'Be'Tipul' and it US counterpart revolve around the psycho analyst's chair, each episode a single patient's session. Psychoanalysis - both individual and that pertaining to Israeli national identity - also pervades Ari Folman's 'Waltz With Bashir'. The film is a cathartic act of self-therapy, conducted on and by the director himself, with the help of former fellow soldiers: unpeeling an onion of buried memories revolving around his participation in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. His need to recover and clarify the past is provoked by a deeply unsettling, repetitive dream, which suggests a spectre of guilt regarding the events that lead to the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres, a dark chapter in modern Israel's short but troubled history - a history dictated perhaps by a national psychology of survival.

'Waltz With Bashir' is unusual because parts of the film derive from genuine documentary footage in which Folman meets again and interviews his erstwhile Israeli army colleagues in search of a forgotten past. The interviews, like Folman's abstract, fallible memories and dreams, have been richly transformed into animation in a manner that recalls Richard Linklater's visually-striking but emotionally vacant 'A Scanner Darkly'. The noirish visuals are sumptuous to watch, sometimes almost distractingly so, especially during the interview sections when the sound is flatter, unadorned by dramatic devices such as music. Otherwise the line between fact and fiction, between the remembered past and documented present, is blurred by the consistently arresting animated imagery; up to a final, horrifying awakening. This climax, without playing politics, imposes the ultimate question about modern Israel: can the nation continue to live with its nightmares in the all-consuming war for survival? With all the importance attached to remembering Jewish plight (particularly The Holocaust), can they really choose to forget the "awful things" done in the name of Israeli survival? A powerful, thought-provoking, beautiful film.
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VINE VOICEon 10 September 2009
This is a trully unforgetable movie about an Israeli soldier trying to remember the events of a fateful day in Beirut during the 1982 invasion.

Without going into the histocracity of the movie I would like to say that is not meant to be taken an historical accoint but as a personal recollection of the events.

I was very impressed with the animation with several novelties that make it stanning to watch. The soundtrack has a mixture of actors and real interviews with Israeli soldiers as well .

The human side of the story ,the futility of war ,the human cost are all perfectly reflected in the movie which also has a very moving and engaging.

Some reviewers give it one stars and call it propaganda but I feel Mr Folman made it very clear that this is not a documentary or an impartial view this is HIS OWN experience put into a film. If anything portraits the Palestinians as vicitms and the Israeli soldiers in the same way as some Vietman films show American soldiers as they walk in a Vietnamesse village and get a bit trigger happy.

Ari Folman ( director ) gives an interview about the film as an extra on the DVD where he explains his reasons for making the movie and his views on the events described in the movie.
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on 2 September 2012
Twenty years after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, of which he was a participant, the writer and director Ari Folman realized that he had little memory of his time there. This included being stationed a few hundred metres from the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila during the three days in which the Phalangist militia massacred the population there.

Waltz with Bashir recounts how, with the help of others who had been there, including fellow soldiers, he began to recover his memory of the events.

Palestinians and Lebanese have no voice in this film. Nevertheless it still represents some of the best impulses in Israeli society, documenting how an ordinary Israeli faces the truth of a particularly vile episode in his nation's history in which he himself was directly implicated.

The massacre in Sabra and Shatila has echoes through history: one Israeli journalist, Ron Ben-Yishai a distinguished war correspondent who was witness to the massacre, recounts how the scene in the camps reminded him of the images of the Warsaw Ghetto.

There are other echoes in Middle Eastern history. One not mentioned in the film is how in 1268, on capturing the city of Antioch, the Sultan Baybars immediately locked the city gates to stop the escape of any of the town's inhabitants as he proceeded to massacre them. Folman argues with this film that the role of the Israeli army during the massacre was the equivalent to Baybars' locking of the gates while their Phalangist allies, Israeli-equipped and in the full knowledge of the highest Israeli military commanders, carried out the slaughter. While the film may provide only a narrow perspective on the Lebanese invasion, it is a startlingly brave and humane one, showing how an ordinary individual human can take responsibility even in the midst of overwhelming historical events.
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on 8 January 2010
I've actually watched this film about 4 times now but for some reason I've never really talked about it. I think it's one of those films that was simply never intended for mainstream recognition, nor was it ever a film I wanted to read about much - it's just one of those jewels we want to selfishly keep to ourselves by not telling the world how amazing the movie is. The film follows the retrospective deliberations of ex-Israeli soldier, Ari Folman, who has recently been reminded by an old colleague of their involvement in the 1982 Lebanon War. It is only after this brief reminder that Ari realises he has no recollection of his involvement in the war and is suddenly privy to a number of flashbacks that relate to very little he can remember. So starts his journey of memory provocation as he visits friends, colleagues and those unknown who played a part in the war. it isn't until some recollection that he appears to have created a mental blackout within himself of the Sabra Masacres. As he delves deeper into his own subconscious, he begins to put together his mental jigsaw puzzle to eventually lead him to his epiphany of epic proportion in a recollection of events that even now has me shiver in despair. There are so many facets of this movie that are exceptional I don't know where to start, so I'll start from the obvious - the visuals.

It uses some very clever techniques that are a combination of Adobe Flash cutouts with classic animation, but the results are simply extraordinary. I've never seen animation, in the general sense, portray so much life in both character and surroundings. It's a stark contrast as the film tackles some very heavy issues, from genocide in war, to mental degradation and psychological breakdowns. It's moody, gritty and quite violent in places. There is no glory here, apart from attempting, successfuly, to recite mans folly in war especially when young of age - the attraction of war is a toffee apple and we are presented this by bright visuals and dynamic lighting effects that appear to be polish to a rusty collection of ill-fitting gears and cogs underneath. Secondly, I have to applaud the soundtrack. It's a combination of orchestral, moody, middle eastern tempo and alternating 80's popular and techno music. It's always, perfectly placed with the action, or anti, on screen and does so much to heighten the importance of the scenes that ultimately unfold to its grizzly ending.

There's also the dialogue. I'm a fan of world cinema, but the visuals are so breathtaking, especially in Bluray, that you simply do not want to tear your eyes off the delicious sights to read the subtitles. Regardless, I'm glad of the sub titles as the dialogue is brilliant - I'm familiar with the 'sound' of hebrew as I live in an area rich with Jewish inhabitants and often it can come across as a little coarse and guttural, but somehow there's a milky smoothness about the words batted between friend and gun partners. I found myself drawn into the intricately delivered facial expressions, the hand gestures and the odd shoulder shrug that so typically defines human reaction - something that is rarely conveyed so well in film, let alone animated.

As a historical lesson, those in the know claim it to be an incorrect portrayal of events. However, I felt it to be a heartbreaking tragic reenactment of a massacre of Muslim inhabitants in a film made my Jewish Israelis. If anything, it prompted me to do further research and establish some more facts on an incident I'd previously never heard of and I'd like to congratulate the film makers on such an astonishingly good achievement.
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on 4 April 2014
Waltz with Bashir is a beautiful yet harrowing account of one young soldier's experiences during the 1982 Lebanese War.

Based on a true story, it follows Director Ari Folman's attempts to remember what happened to him during that war after a friend visits him about a recurring nightmare he's been having.
The film is then separated into various interviews which re-create the experiences of Ari's fellow soldiers during that war.
Key themes throughout the film are the reliability of memory and denial.

The animation is superb and beautifully shot - there is great use of colour and movement.
In addition, the soundtrack contains what I believe are contemporary Israeli songs about the war.

I wouldn't say its an anti-war film or a pro-war film, it just seeks to portray events as they occurred from one particular point of view. His realisation of his involvement in and the lessons he learns from the Sabra and Shatila massacre sum up this short film quite tastefully, as the animation finally gives way to real footage captured from those camps in 1982.
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2009
This is a trully unforgetable movie about an Israeli soldier trying to remember the events of a fateful day in Beirut during the 1982 invasion.

Without going into the histocracity of the movie I would like to say that is not meant to be taken an historical accoint but as a personal recollection of the events.

I was very impressed with the animation with several novelties that make it stanning to watch. The soundtrack has a mixture of actors and real interviews with Israeli soldiers as well .

The human side of the story ,the futility of war ,the human cost are all perfectly reflected in the movie which also has a very moving and engaging.

Some reviewers give it one stars and call it propaganda but I feel Mr Folman made it very clear that this is not a documentary or an impartial view this is HIS OWN experience put into a film. If anything portraits the Palestinians as vicitms and the Israeli soldiers in the same way as some Vietman films show American soldiers as they walk in a Vietnamesse village and get a bit trigger happy.

Ari Folman ( director ) gives an interview about the film as an extra on the DVD where he explains his reasons for making the movie and his views on the events described in the movie.
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No matter the historical facts and finger pointing, I think the reviewer from the Guardian was spot on: ""Waltz With Bashir is an extraordinary, harrowing, provocative picture. We staggered out of the screening in a daze." This was exactly my experience. It took a good 15-20 minutes before my friend and I had processed what we had just experienced and were able to string together a sentence - deeper than "WOW"!
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on 24 February 2009
I was and still am living in Lebanon. I was a witness of all this war that took place in 1982. Waltz with Bachir sheds the light on some truth about the Israelis occupying Lebanon in 1982 and the massacre that took place in the Palestinian camps.
The story is very true yet not complete. The Israelis describe the massacre of the Palestinians as if they were not really involved.
The Palestinian camps were attacked by the Lebanese Christian militias; true. The Israeli forces were involved in lighting the camp throwing light rockets all night. The Israelis knew very well what the Lebanese Christian militias would do if permitted to enter the camps, yet they gave the militias the green light and watched the massacre all night long.
The poor Palestinians paid the heavy price. Some people are not lucky in this cruel world.
Enough said, overall, the movie and the sceneries of Beirut are extremely well done; minor mistakes such as the poster of president Bashir Gemayel spread all over west Beirut and in the camps; a very good animated documentary that is surely worth watching and will keep you thinking for a long time after the movie ends.
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2009
"Waltz with Bashir" is an animated film about the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982 and the infamous massacre of Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut by "Christian" militiamen in particular. The film consists of interviews and reflections on the war from various Israeli combatants as well as showing battles in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians on beaches and in Beirut. These scenes depict the full horror of war very well indeed. The film's focus is firmly on the refugee camps massacre which took place in retaliation for the murder of charismatic Christian leader, Bashir Gemayel, from whose name the film takes it's title. It emerges that there was some form of collusion between the militiamen and the Israeli Army that permitted the massacre to be carried out,perhaps emanating from the highest levels of the Israeli Army."Waltz With Bashir" should interest those who can remember the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and it is an original and innovative animation.
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on 8 May 2009
There are so many good points to this film it is hard to start. Very psychological undertone which is expressed throughout the film dictating the effects of post war on memory. The animation style is breathtaking at certain points further conveying the emotional aspects of the characters. The score by Max Richter also impacts upon the scenes especially that of the dogs at the beginning! Overall, love it, watch it now.
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