Waltz with Bashir (2008)

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One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there is a connection between the dream and their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised he can’t remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images.

Genre: Foreign, Documentary
Director: Ari Folman
Cast: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ari Folman, Dror Harazi, Yehezkel Lazarov
In theaters: December 25, 2008
Available on iTunes

Website: http://www.waltzwithbashir.com/

“A memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film”
A.O. Scott, New York Times

“One of the most profoundly explosive animated documentaries I have ever seen, and is clearly one of the best pictures of the year.”
Andrew Sarris, New York Observer

“Its fluid boundary between the real and surreal lifts it into the realm of myth.”
David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“Extraordinary and painfully timely”
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

“…absolute stunner..”
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Difficult to remember impossible to forget ”
Boston Globe

“The best movie of 2008? The most revealing war film ever made? The greatest animated feature to come out of Israel? All these descriptions could apply to Waltz With Bashir. ”
Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle

“A movie so unusual that it overflows any box in which you try to contain it.”
Anthony Lane , New Yorker

“Could easily turn out to be one of the most powerful statements of this Cannes and will leave its mark forever on the ethics of war films in general,”
Dan Fainaru, Screen Daily.

“Waltz With Bashir is an extraordinary, harrowing, provocative picture. We staggered out of the screening in a daze.”
Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“something special, strange and peculiarly potent”
Leslie Felperin, Variety

“The message of the futility of war has rarely been painted with
such bold strokes.”
Mary Corliss, Time

“Folman unleashes a pastiche of incredible cinematic scenes that are as innovative as they are devastating.”
Sheigh Crabtree, LA Times

“The artistic choice made by Folman (animation) brings an apocalyptic and surrealistic dimension to this universal and moving film.”
Barbara Theate, Le Journal du Dimanche

“An intense, moving animation film as we’ve never seen before. A masterpiece”
Julien Welter, l’Express

“Ari Folman has definitively moved the frontier berween fiction
and documentary”.
Philippe Azoury, Liberation

“A clever work of (and about) memory, a powerful, beautiful and usefull film.”
Serge Kaganski, Les Inrockuptibles

“It’s a shattering war film, full of guilt and shock, and finding a new medium for expressing and exploring familiar themes,”
Jason Solomons, the Observer

“Folman has made a beautiful, disturbing and deeply compelling film”
Kim Voynar, Cinematical

Waltz with Bashir

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from “Rolling Stone”, published:  January 22, 2009

A potent and profound document of war and its aftermath done as a cartoon — what’s that all about? Watch and learn, cynics, even if you think animation is strictly for kung-fu pandas and you know squat about assassinated Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel. For what’s on view in Ari Folman’sWaltz With Bashir, submitted for Oscar consideration by Israel as both foreign-language film and animated feature, is hallucinatory brilliance in the service of understanding the psychic damage of war.

Folman, a former Israeli soldier who served during the 1982 Israeli-Lebanese war, has repressed his memories of the invasion of Beirut — more specifically, the massacre of Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Though the killings were committed by the Christian Phalangist militia as payback for the murder of their leader, Bashir, the Israeli army stood by and reportedly sent up flares to aid the slaughter of men, women and children. In the years since, Folman cut off ties to the men he served with. The movie is his attempt to make some kind of sense of what happened by interviewing those involved. Folman took a graphic-novel approach because, in his words, “animation functions on the border between reality and the subconscious.”

From the first haunting scene — a combat survivor’s recurring nightmare of 26 barking dogs he was forced to shoot to keep an element of surprise — the movie grips you and won’t let go. Folman cuts deep with images of his young self, of naked boys emerging from the sea to pull on uniforms, of a crazed soldier dancing with his rifle as he fires randomly at unseen snipers, and a final glimpse of devastating reality. Get ready to be knocked for a loop.

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