Waltz with Bashir
Israel
In Hebrew & German with English Subtitles
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Director: Ari Folman
Cast: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ari Folman, Dror Harazi
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Rating: R

“Nominated for the Golden Palm Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival. Ari Folman's exquisite animated documentary Waltz with Bashir is a decisive entry into the canon of war films. told from the point of view of Folman himself, it is a brutally honest exploration of the reliability of memory and the long-term impact of violence on young soldiers.

The film's opening sequence follows twenty-six wild dogs as they run through a town, stopping to bay with rage under a man's window. This scene is the recurring nightmare of one of Folman's army comrades, and it is his dream that inspires Folman to search into his own past.
 
While he knows that he participated in the 1982 war with Lebanon, Folman has virtually no memory of the events. He goes in search of his fellow comrades, hoping that by collecting their memories he will be able to recreate his own.
 
Twenty-five years after the conflict, Folman's new recollections elicit unsettling residual feelings and perspectives, including an uncomfortable parallel between the horrible massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and the Holocaust. The massacres in question were conducted by Christian militia who murdered thousands of Palestinian civilians to revenge the death of their assassinated leader, Bashir Gemavel. While not directly responsible for these heinous acts, the Israelis tacitly assisted by sending up flares to illuminate the night sky and, many feel, by standing by and allowing the crimes to occur.
 
Folman has elevated the film's impact by securing the extraordinary involvement of Yoni Goodman, who created astonishing animations of images originally shot on film. This visual approach takes Waltz with Bashir beyond ever-present news footage and into the surreal terrain of image and memory. Folman does not delve into the politics of the conflict, choosing instead to explore a dark chapter in his (and Israel's) life. His conclusion, made in the last few shocking moments of the film, is a tribute to the filmmaker's own moral honesty and to generations of young people scarred by ungodly acts of war.

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