Vals im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir)
2008
****½
Director: Ari Folman
Cast:

Ari Folman’s inventive and extremely powerful animated documentary deals with personal and collective guilt, and suppressed memories. As a 19-year-old he served in the Israel Defense Forces during the Lebanon War, but he has blocked out all memories from this period in his life. A discussion with an old friend brings back a haunting vision of the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982. He goes out to talk to old friends, fellow soldiers and various other people to piece the puzzle together. Folman mixes old and new animation techniques to create the visuals, but the end result resembles Richard Linklater’s rotoscoped Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Similarly, the visual look is initially alienating – the talking heads in particular look oddly lifeless – but once the gripping narrative swept me along, everything else seemed secondary. The final shots resort to actual news footage for dramatic purposes.