Animated Documentary Pushes the Boundaries of Nonfiction Filmmaking
At the beginning, Folman’s animated self listens to a former battle buddy describe his recurring nightmares about dogs rampaging through a town--it's a dream, he explains, that‘s connected with his battle task of killing dogs in enemy towns before their barking alerted residents to the presence of Israeli soldiers. Folman asks whether his friend has sought therapy. “No,” the friend remarks, “I called you.” When Folman asks why his friend called a filmmaker, the friend responds that films are therapeutic.
So, Folman, whose own disturbing images of war--of young naked dead men rising out of the sea--are triggered by his friends' description of the rampaging dogs, sets out on a journey of self discovery in film, one intended to reveal to himself--and to the film’s viewers--the meaning of the horrific images that have come back to haunt him.
At the suggestion of a therapist friend, Folman seeks out and questions other men with whom he served. Now much older and following individual paths, they, too, are haunted by terrible memories--and their stories of war experiences gradually unfold, their individual and collective memories, as objectified in Folman's animated film, present a compelling and profoundly unsettling depiction of the horrors of war and its indelible effects on the psyche of those who survive.
Brilliant Use of Cinematic Elements
Waltz With Bashir's captivating meditative quality comes from Folman’s--and his production team’s--complete control of cinematic elements. Their exquisite and always appropriate use of composition and color, of dark and light, of camera movement and positioning, as well as the quality of the dialog (with Folman and his fellow soldiers actually voicing their animated selves), background sound and music--in other words, all the filmmaker’s tools--creates an extraordinary work of art that commands you to watch it more than once, and reveals itself anew each time you see it.
Waltz With Bashir is a rare masterpiece that must be seen and treasured.
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- Release Date: July, 2008, in Israel
- Running Time: 90 mins.
- MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing images of atrocities, strong violence, brief nudity and a scene of graphic sexual content.
- Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
- Country: Israel
- Language: Hebrew, German, English, with English subtitles
- Company: Sony Pictures Classics
- Numerous US and International Nominations and Awards