Waltz with Bashir is an Israeli 2008 animated war film that was written and directed by Ari Folman. It premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. The film itself revolves around Folman’s search for his lost memories surrounding the 1982 Lebanon war. It is an incredibly raw film which hooks the viewers attention right from the 1st minute. Its breathtaking honestly is not necessarily realised until the end. Ari uses the film as a partial documentary, animating and depicting his own life and investigation into searching for his ‘lost’ memories.
It is an important film for many reasons. Not only does it depict the horrors that happened within Lebanon but it is worth noting that the film was banned
Vivid and horrifying events leading up to the massacres are disinterred by the movie's quasi-fictional "reconstructive" procedure, somewhere between oral history and psychoanalysis. The film uses hyperreal rotoscope-animation techniques, similar to those made famous by Bob Sabiston and Richard Linklater. Live-action footage on videotape has been digitally converted into a bizarre dreamscape in which reality is resolved into something between two and three dimensions. (Bradshaw, 2008)
The film is beautifully animated and brings a certain air of whimsicality and the true horror of what is unfolding in front of us doesn't seem as real. If this was intended is unclear but the colour and tonality of the piece mixed with the hyperreal rotoscope animation techniques adds another deeper, more subtle tone to the piece. Creating an animation about the Lebanon War was a risky task to undergo, yet the skills used to make it have masked some of the horror and added a layer of curiosity to the piece. This is not your typical war film. This is Folman’s attempt to understand his memories and educate others about what really happened.
The film is structured like a conventional documentary, with Folman visiting old army friends and piecing together what they saw and remember. The freedom of animation allows him to visualize what they tell him -- even their nightmares. (Ebert, 2009) To add in real footage at the end is a heart breaking finale but it perfectly sums up the movie. He’s broken that filmic wall where people could be mistaken to think that the tragic events never happened. Instead he layers on the footage at the end to break the film illusion and to show people that this happened in real life. Although this piece is a semi documentary as he tried to understand his 1st hand view of the events, its done with such care and finesse that it should be truly considered a masterpiece.