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Waltz with Bashir [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by actual events, Waltz with Bashir chronicles one man's descent into his own half-forgotten past. Filmmaker Ari Folman, an Israeli veteran of the First Lebanon War, encounters an old friend suffering from nightmares of the conflict. Ari begins to wonder why his own memories are full of gaps. In an effort to uncover the truth, he reconnects with old friends and dares to confront the horrors of war. Hailed as "innovative" and "devastating," Waltz with Bashir fuses animation and documentary to create an experience unlike anything you've ever witnessed.

Amazon.com

Waltz with Bashir presents an intriguing riddle: is a documentary still a documentary if it's animated? Taking over where fact-based animations like Waking Life and Chicago 10 left off, Israel’s Ari Folman tries to wrap his head around 1982's Lebanon War (the title refers to Lebanese leader Bashir Gemayel). Why do disturbing dreams plague his former army colleagues, while he remembers nothing? Folman meets with nine of them to find out. As they speak, animators recreate their experiences, but instead of rotoscoping or video-capture, Folman first shot his film on video and then assembled an animated version from the resulting storyboards. This graphic-novel approach suits their strange, surrealistic stories and parallels the work of Black Hole's Charles Burns, who tends to walk on the shadowy side (as opposed to Marjane Satrapi's more fanciful Persepolis). War may be hell, but moments of grace and beauty shine through, best exemplified by Roni Dayag’s recollection of a late-night swim away from the scene of a beachfront battle. Decades later, he still remembers the soothing peacefulness of the water. These reminiscences nudge Folman's repressed memories back to the surface, culminating in a horrific massacre to which he bore witness. Arguably, he didn't need to include actual footage of the deceased when stylized graphics get the point across fine. If Waltz with Bashir isn't a documentary in the conventional sense, it doesn't resemble most animated efforts either. What matters more is the harrowing narrative he constructs from out of the minds of these haunted men. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Stills from Waltz With Bashir (click for larger image)


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Ari Folman
  • Writers: Ari Folman
  • Producers: Ari Folman, Serge Lalou, Gerhard Meixner, Yael Nahlieli, Roman Paul
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: June 23, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KVZ6A2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,437 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Waltz with Bashir [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Waltz With Bashir" is one of the great recent examples of how animation can be used not just as a tool for children's entertainment, but as a serious film medium that can have a powerful impact. It is unashamed at being an anti-war film, this is because the director lived and survived the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel, he participated in it and had things to say through his memories and talent. Some on here are going nuts by bashing the film as "anti-Israel," shocked at a movie that would present a realistic, honest portrait of a certain political fantasy they want to keep alive as do most statist devotees. But "Waltz With Bashir" is not just about Israel, it is about war in general, about the experience of war and the brutal reality of violence. As an animated movie, it has deeper, more intelligent things to say than typical gung ho works like "Band Of Brothers" or even the recent "The Hurt Locker."

The film chronicles director Ari Folman's search for his memories of the Lebanon War and more specifically, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, a brutal massacre of Palestinian civilians by the Nazi-inspired Christian Phalange, which at the time was supported by Israel considering the Phalange's leader, Bashir Gemayal, was a potential puppet ruler the Israelis sought to install (for a detailed account of the whole war and the assassination of Bashir Gemayal, read Robert Fisk's brilliant book "Pity The Nation: The Abduction Of Lebanon"). Folman revists old army buddies to recount the war and his own memories of the night Israeli troops fired flares into the sky and stood by as the Phalange carried out is butchery.

This is not the sort of material one would immediately think of as cartoon material, but in the hands of Folman the movie is a masterpiece of the animation medium.
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Format: DVD
This movie is one of the best accounts of the trauma that affects young men -- boys really -- sent to fight wars which deeply affects them decades after.

The war in question is the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon which quickly went bad and ended up with the Israelis providing a security perimeter for Christina Falangists to enter the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla where they massacred several hundred civilians.

The Falangists were avenging the assassination of their leader, Bashir Gemayel, who gives his name to the movie's title. The Israelis ought to have know their Christian allies were bent on revenge. Moreover, on the night of the massacre, there were numerous reports trickling out of the camps that atrocities were taking place -- but no-one acted on them. The Israelis only stopped the killing the next morning.

Years later, through interviews with Israeli soldiers who took part in the war and psychologists, this animated movie examines the deep guilt and trauma many still feel. The animation is beautifully done -- some scenes are truly lyrical -- and it somehow allows the characters to become "everyman." We see young, poorly trained kids panic under fire and lash out by firing indiscriminately themselves killing civilians. We see a 12-year-old Palestinian kid wielding a rocket-propelled grenade, determined to kill and ending up himself being killed. The opening scene with ravening, yellow-eyes wolves bounding through the streets of Tel Aviv to howl under the balcony of one ex-soldiers is particularly striking.

These kind of scenes could apply to any war or insurgency and parallels between this conflict and the current U.S. struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan are clear and urgent. Yet there is a special Israeli angle.
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Format: DVD
Memory is a fickle day dream, and Ari Folman brings it to life as its own character in his animated attempt to document and process his repressed memories of his role in the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres during the 1982 Lebanese War. Although one-sided in its historic depiction, Folman's personal story of working back through the holes in his psyche is gripping. The accounts of his friends as they fill in his experience are as triggering for viewers as Folman. Somewhat intense and sensually disturbing, the graphic artistry is compelling and deceptively simplistic. As memory serves detachment, the quality of animating such charged material creates a layer of psychological comfort for watching horrific events, at least until their reality becomes undeniable. This is not a film for young viewers, and one that older viewers should approach carefully.
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I can honestly say that I've never seen anything quite like WALTZ WITH BASHIR before. It's animated, but it's also a documentary which recounts director Ari Folman's attempt to reclaim long-suppressed memories of his involvement in the Lebanon War. The animation-documentary combination is an odd one, but nevertheless it works extraordinarily well with what the filmmakers seemed to be going for here. Although it mostly deals with firsthand war experiences, the larger theme is the subjective and fragile nature of memory, particularly of the traumatic and painful variety. I don't really want to get into any specifics because to do so would spoil the impact. All I'll say is that this film builds rather slowly as different people are interviewed and details are revealed, and the climax is sure to provoke an emotional reaction. As far as the quality of the film is concerned, the animation is very well-done. The movement is a little odd at times, but this is due to them either using cut-outs or roto-scoping (maybe a combination of both?). I'm fairly certain that the interview scenes were based on actual film footage, but I could be wrong. The sequences in the past are distinguished from the present by having this watercolor-like, washed-out, yellow-tinged and dingy look, while the scenes in the present have more natural-looking color. Back to thematic content, there is also some discussion about dreams and how they relate to memory. And of course, since this film deals with a war (and massacre) issues of morality come up, if in a more subtle way than you might think. What I took away from this is that the Lebanon War (and Palestinian massacre) is something that weighs heavy on the Israeli/Jewish conscience.Read more ›
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