Current Date: 5 October, 2022
Waltz With Bashir

Movie 4 d week : Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Language : Hebrew

Director : Ari Folman

‘Waltz with Bashir’ is a brilliant animated documentary reconstructed from bits and pieces narrated by six? different colleagues of Ari Folman, who was also part of the 1982 Lebanon war. Folman follows the story after an old friend, at a pub, narrates his nightmare wherein he is chased by 26 hungry dogs. The story is from the Sabra Shatila massacre where anywhere between 300-3500 people were killed by Phalangist’s, under the able guidance of Israel, as a revenge to the killing of their leader, Bashir Gemayel. It is claimed that the Israeli forces fired illuminating flares, which made it seem as bright as a floodlit football stadium, to help the Phalangist’s seek out Palestinians. Part of the war has been blanked out of Folman’s memory and he is not too sure what really took place. From bits and pieces from his other colleagues Ari Folman reconstructs the war as they saw it and seemingly recalls what he himself went through in the process. It is really a statement on the deep effect a war can have not on just your senses but even the sub-conscious. The soundtrack is simply brilliant and adds to the tension. The film is disturbing and in-spite of the format makes such a strong statement against war and the effects it can have, stated and otherwise.

Ari Folman : Shoot.

Soldier : Shoot who?

Ari Folman : How should I know who? Just shoot.

Soldier : Isn’t it better to pray?

Ari Folman : Pray and shoot.

Seems to sum up how every individual is a different animal when at war. There is no emancipation for anyone who is part of a war. The last scene includes some real footage and you seemingly switch from a constructed point of view to one entirely yours.

A must-watch in the Palestine-Israel series and a must add to the list of Amos Gitai films on the subject. I caught this one at this year’s International Film Festival. It is now available on the DVD circuit. Don’t miss this one.

Also watched Santosh Sivan’s ‘Before the rains’ – very disappointing. Particularly so the use of language, Malayalam and English, is patchy. I might be a little biased when it comes to Nandita Das, but then she is good.

And since when did ‘Indulgence’ become a bad word? Someone please give Anurag Kashyap a review. ‘Indulgent, Indulgent…’ seems to be everyone’s way of not having to take a stand. I loved ‘Dev D’. If at all there is a modern version of Devdas this is it. It has more than just the contemporary stars re-playing the same old story. And Abhay Deol is very good indeed. An entirely new cast seems to work very well and the music is so much part of the film.

Useless trivia : The title ‘Waltz with Bashir’ is from an insane waltz that one of Ari Folman’s commander’s, armed with a light-machine gun, does in front of a Bashir Gemayel poster on the streets of Beirut.


This film has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and I will be surprised if it doesn’t win. I gather from IMDB this is the first animated film to be nominated to this category. That, I think is a factual error though.


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