Classic Review – Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Title – Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Director – Ari Folman (The Congress)

Cast – Ari Folman, Ori Sivan, Shmuel Frenkel, Ronny Dayag

Plot – On a quest to unlock memories of his part in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman tracks down those he served with in his time in the army to hear their stories of the war.

“I lost my memory. Now in order to remember, I am looking for those who can never forget”

Review by Eddie on 27/08/2020

The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar when it was included in the category in the 2009 ceremony, Ari Folman’s Golden Globe winning documentary unlike any other is one of the finest feats of film-making of the modern era regardless of genre or style, as the Israeli born director delves into a very personal story of his and his friends experience’s from their parts in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

One of the most confronting and honest accounts of the effects war has on one’s psyche and lives, Waltz with Bashir (named after a pivotal scene in the film) sees Folman tell his and others stories through a stunning animation format that turns the talking head and recreated memories rule-book on its head, as Folman slowly but surely unlocks his own memories of the war that for many years remained repressed in his own mind.

When you watch the events of Bashir and are taken back into the occurrences of our various subjects minds its hard to think of a better way in which Folman could’ve explored such bizarre instances or moments of complete and utter bewilderment and throughout the films brief 80 minute run-time there are some immensely striking and unforgettable moments that will stick with the viewer long after the credits have rolled.

Often accompanied by Max Richter’s haunting score, Bashir has moments of transformative beauty littered throughout scenes that even in animated form remain hard to bare, highlights include a recurring instance of Folman’s vision of himself and two others emerging from a calm sea to a city-scape torn to pieces or soldiers wandering through an orchard only to be interrupted by a child wielding an RPG.

Most of Bashir can only be classified as a work of art, a heartfelt and astonishingly well put-together piece of cinema, highlighting not only the oft-forgotten conflict that raged in Lebanon but also the true cost of war that more often than not extends long after the battle has concluded.

It’s a shame Folman in the years post-Bashir has been unable to return to the form he found here with the little-seen The Congress his only feature film to have been released, robbing us of a talent that announced himself brightly with a genuine masterpiece.

Final Say – 

A unique documentary, war expose and animation that’s beauty is hard to describe in words, Waltz with Bashir may not be a film spoken about regularly but its a film deserving of your time and attention with it being as powerful today as it was upon release.

5 party boats out of 5  

One response to “Classic Review – Waltz with Bashir (2008)

  1. Thanks for highlighting this film: it deserves to be remembered for it’s humane examination of war in the Mid East. The story being told in animation is perfect.

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