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Animation: Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir (Hebrew: ואלס עם באשיר‎ - 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 from the 1982 Lebanon War and won numerous awards, including being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action-Hogging Opening: The film's opening, which follows a pack of dogs tearing through a city, is its most fast-paced and visually dynamic sequence.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Happens to Folman after his first tour in Lebanon to show his alienation from society.
  • Angry Guard Dog: A soldier must shoot twenty-six dogs because their barking would alert the wanted Palestinians, and the dead dogs begin haunting him some 20 years later.
  • Anticlimax: Near the end of the movie, after the true intention of the Phalangists is discovered, we see how the news of the massacre wanders up the ranks of the IDF. When it finally hits an Israeli officer who cares and takes action, it's already morning. We then see a military jeep driving up to the Phalangists, a man gets out, picks up a bullhorn... and says in a deadpan voice: "Stop the shooting". The Phalangists stop, the surviving refugees return to their destroyed camp, and the man drives off again.
  • Apathetic Citizens: At one scene showing a battle between the Israeli soldiers and the militants, Lebanese civilians were watching the whole battle from their balconies as if they were just watching a drive-by movie, without caring if they might get shot.
  • A-Team Firing: The IDF soldiers that invade Lebanon fire at everything. Not everything that moves. Everything.
  • The Atoner: Folman's story of the search for his lost memories, as well as the very reason he lost them in the first place, is of guilt over whatever happened on the night of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila. While he didn't directly participate, Folman cannot deal with the guilt of having been one of the Israeli soldiers whose job was to launch flares into the sky above the city- the light from which allowed the Phalangists to commit their atrocities. The "falling stars" from his vision are actually flares.
  • Badass Israeli: Deconstructed/subverted. Pretty much all of the soldiers shown are just scared kids who would rather be back home. Frenkel does have his moments, though.
  • Bad Dreams: The film starts with Boaz, Ari Folman's long time friend, recounting a recurring dream in which he is menaced by the dogs he shot during the war.
  • Black Comedy: Occasionally. The red car montage sticks out as one example.
    • Also, Folman and Boaz remarking that car bombs are "a blast."
  • Child Soldiers: Frenkel tells the director how he and his troop were attacked by a child with an RPG in an orchard and had to shoot him.
  • Church Militant: The Phalangists.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Frenkel, the MAG shooter, doesn't seem to run out of ammunition wile dancing in the street and firing around.
  • Bug Buzz: During the dead horses scene.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: An officer gives Folman instructions while watching a German porn movie and engaging in this.
  • Day for Night: The nightly army maneuvers are depicted with more natural light than there should have been.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The director presents his ex-girlfriend this way. She dumped him on the same week that he shipped out, and he has visions and dreams of her during his experience at war. The director's wife objected to how pretty she looks in the film.
  • Flashbacks
  • Hell Hound: The twenty-six dogs in the start.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ron Ben-Yishai.
  • Israelis with Infrared Missiles: All the main characters. They are depicted generally as a bunch of kids who don't really know what they're doing or why they're doing it.
  • Medium Blending: The final scene is real footage of the aftermath.
  • National Stereotypes: In the Netherlands you smoke joints at any occasion.
  • Secondary Character Title: President Bashir is referred to but doesn't actually appear in the movie.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: Events, that are being recalled by characters, are shown as animated sequences to avoid too much of Talking Heads.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Israeli soldiers.
  • Shout-Out: Soldier surfing under fire.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In a few scenes, the film uses classical music and rocking 80's singles over scenes of war.
    • Some of those songs seem to be written specifically about the Lebanon War, however.
  • Survivors Guilt: Ronny Dayag, who is the only member of his tank crew to survive.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Ronny Dayag was abandoned by his unit on the battlefield by the shore. He hid until nightfall and then swam to safety.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: The driving force of the film is the main character's search for his memories of the war.
  • Unflinching Walk: Ron Ben-Yishai.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Of the seasick soldier on the love boat.
  • War Is Hell: The director stated that he intended to show that war is awful, and to not give the audience any heroic characters to emulate. Indeed, the stories people tell generally reflect poorly on the IDF in general and them in particular.
  • Worf Effect: On the IDF, constantly.

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WALL•EAnimated FilmsThe Wars Of Darkness
WALL•EFilms of 2005 - 2009 Wanted

alternative title(s): Waltz With Bashir
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