Author(s): FOLMAN ARI POLONSKY DAVID
"Special, strange, and peculiarly potent... Extraordinary." --"Variety"
One night in Beirut in September 1982, while Israeli soldiers secured the area, Christian militia members entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and began to massacre hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians. Ari Folman was one of those Israeli soldiers, but for more than twenty years he remembered nothing of that night or of the weeks leading up to it. Then came a friend's disturbing dream, and with it Folman's need to excavate the truth of the war in Lebanon and answer the crucial question: what was he doing during the hours of slaughter?
Challenging the collective amnesia of friends and fellow soldiers, Folman painfully, candidly pieces together the war and his place in it. Gradually, the blankness of his mind is filled in by scenes of combat and patrol, misery and carnage, as well as dreams and hallucinations. Soldiers are haunted by inexplicable nightmares and flashbacks--snapping, growling dogs with teeth bared and eyes glowing orange; a recurring image of three young men rising naked out of the sea to drift into the Beirut battlefield. Tanks crush cars and buildings with lethal indifference; snipers pick off men on donkeys, men in cars, men drinking coffee; a soldier waltzes through a storm of bullets; rock songs fill the air, and then yellow flares. The recollections accumulate until Ari Folman arrives at Sabra and Shatila and his investigation reaches its terrible end.
The result is a gripping reconstruction, a probing inquiry into the unreliable quality of memory, and, above all, a powerful denunciation of the senselessness of all wars. Profoundly original in form and approach, "Waltz with Bashir" will take its place as one of the great works of wartime testimony.
"A powerhouse film... The animation initially works as something of a distancing device, giving you the space -- intellectual, emotional -- to process the story and its accumulating horrors. The fluidity of the figures accentuates the air of surreality -- one soldier compares war to an acid trip -- which deepens as the story reaches its terrible end. The finale is stunning, at once a furious act of conscience and a lament."--Manohla Dargis, "The New York Times"
""Waltz with Bashir" will leave its mark forever on the ethics of war films in general.... Although there are no new elements of that terrible event revealed here for the first time, the context in which they are put is sufficient to deliver a fearful wallop."--"Screen"
"The subject... is transmuted via novel use of animation into something special, strange and peculiarly potent. Surreal touches, deployed with tactical restraint, make "Waltz with Bashir" extraordinary."--"Variety"
"A film which resonates to the true, real experience of every soldier and to the current experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Waltz with Bashir" is brilliant."--"Facets Multi-Media"
""Waltz With Bashir" is an extraordinary, harrowing, provocative picture. We staggered out of the screening in a daze."--"The Guardian" (UK)
"A provocative and wholly adult tour de force."--"Boston Herald"
"Folman has fashioned something artistically unique and expressive. The imagery is at once beautifully drawn, vivid, and disturbing... This deeply compelling film documents the horrors to which Folman and his friends were witnesses, while offering hope that he and others might, some day, heal from the ravages of war. While it's too much to hope that thisor any film might have an impact in the real world that could put an end to mankind's capacity to hurt one another, films like "Waltz with Bashir" offer us the opportunity to learn about and from history."--"Cinematic USA"
""Persepolis" meets "Full Metal Jacket" in Ari Folman's powerful and original animated war film."--"Globe and Mail" (Canada)
""Waltz with Bashir" is animated history, much like "Persepolis" or Joe Sacco's graphic novels... This strong, strong work leads the audience slowly closer to the massacre until the final, stunning moments almost erupt from the screen."--"Boston Globe"
"Dredging up these dreadful memories may have been therapeutic for the men involved, but the point of "Waltz With Bashir" is bigger than that.... It is a remarkable, haunting, and intense work, quite unlike any animated film I've ever seen."--"Salon"
""Waltz With Bashir" is about the cold fingers of memory that clutch the heart. Folman's exemplary film says that only by exposing the wounds can they begin to heal. The message of the futility of war has rarely been painted with such bold strokes."--"Time"
"A major revelation... An animation that is visually bold and politically combustible, it's based on the director's own experiences as a draftee soldier. This theme of amnesia, as well as the film's stylish and consistently inventive animation, recalls Richard Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly" as much as it does last year's Persepolis.... An unforgettable portrait of lost innocence."--"Daily Telegraph" (UK)
"Powerful... "Waltz with Bashir" combines the testimonies of Israeli soldiers who fought in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon with brilliant animation and documentary footage in a uniqueand original manner."--"Al-Ahram Weekly" (Egypt)
"Poised strangely--possibly uniquely--between confessional animation and documentary investigation, "Waltz with Bashir" explores the director's own experience as an Israeli soldier in Lebanon. That Folman chooses to depict his quest in impressionistic, often dream-like animation makes the film all the more personal, and gives it the urgency of a true cri de coeur."--"The Independent" (UK)
"An innovative, powerful moral essay."--J. Hoberman, "The Village Voice"