Waltz with Bashir (Hebrew; translated as Vals Im Bashir) is a 2008 Israeli animated documentary film written and directed by Ari Folman. It depicts Folman in search of his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War
This is an influential and thoughtful document of war and its aftermath done as a cartoon. The animation characters are deliberately focused on the psychic of war and its indemnities are captured so well
The story begin in the year of 1982, Ari Folman was a 19-year-old infantry soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In 2006, he meets with a friend from his army service period, who tells him of the nightmares connected to his experiences from the Lebanon War. Folman is surprised to find that he remembers nothing from that period. Later that night he has a vision from the night of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, the reality of which he is unable to recall. In his memory, he and his soldier comrades are bathing at night by the seaside in Beirut under the light of flares descending over the city.
Folman rushes off to meet a childhood friend, who advises him to seek out other people who were in Beirut at the same time in order to understand what happened there and to revive his own memories. Folman converses with friends and other soldiers who served in the war, a psychologist, and the Israeli TV reporter Ron Ben-Yishai who covered Beirut at the time, amongst others. Folman eventually realizes that he “was in the second or third ring” of soldiers surrounding the Palestinian refugee camp where the carnage was perpetrated, and that he was among those soldiers firing flares into the sky to illuminate the refugee camp for the Lebanese Christian Phalange militia perpetrating the massacre inside. He concludes that his amnesia had stemmed from his feeling as a teenage soldier that he was as guilty of the massacre as those who actually carried it out. The film ends with animation dissolving into actual footage of the aftermath of the massacre.
The first Israeli animated feature-length films released in movie theaters since Alina and Yoram Gross’s Ba’al Hahalomot (1962). Waltz with Bashir premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival where it entered the competition for the Palme d’Or, and since then has won and been nominated for many additional important awards while receiving wide acclaim from critics. It won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, an NSFC Award for Best Film, a César Award for Best Foreign Film and an IDA Award for Feature Documentary, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and an Annie Award for Best Animated Feature.