Waltz with Bashir

Recommended

90 min. minutes | Rated R

In 1982, following the assassination of Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel, Israeli Defense Forces allowed the Lebanese Phalangist militia to enter two Palestinian refugee camps, where they slaughtered as many as 3,000 civilians. Filmmaker Ari Folman, at the time an Israeli soldier, was there, but he can't remember a thing. Attempting to excavate his suppressed memories, Folman recorded interviews with fellow soldiers, journalists, friends, and his therapist; he then animated their accounts in a series of dark, disjointed, somnambular episodes. The finished product is stunning, and somehow all of it feels more accurate than any film documentary--certainly one based on painful and foggy recollection--ever could. The full story of what happened emerges slowly, as Folman's aging Israeli peers grapple with the implications of their involvement--however peripheral--in an organized massacre. All the humor and horror of teenagers at war comes across with calm, wry honesty, thanks to Bashir's narrators: middle-aged men trying to uncover a youth that they're not sure they want to remember.

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Film Credits
Director
Ari Folman
Cast
Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ari Folman, Dror Harazi, Yehezkel Lazarov, Mickey Leon, Ori Sivan, Zahava Solomon