Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Waltz with Bashir

A Waltz with Bashir

Scene from Waltz with Bashir

Scene from "Waltz with Bashir"

WOOF! WOOF! And the dogs race towards you screaming; the men are quietly debating what happened during their time as Lebanon War soldiers. BANGBANGBANG! And the mortars are roaring while the guns spew death; the men are quietly debating what happened. I look at the screen and a spastic storyteller comes to mind. This erratic movie caught me entirely off guard with its different spasms of sound and visuals. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on A Waltz with Bashir

“Waltz With Bashir” Shocks All

When I initially sat down in anticipation of “Waltz With Bashir,” I didn’t know what to expect.  My instincts told me that it would be an old-fashioned movie with dated, classical music, making sense of the name of the play.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong.  The delivery and style of the movie was truly unique and unlike any other production I have ever seen before.  [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on “Waltz With Bashir” Shocks All


An eccentric yet animated documentary, Waltz with Bashir took the audience into a surreal world of fear, confusion, and internal struggle. Directed by Ari Folman, Waltz with Bashir won six Israeli Academy Awards for its innovative style of reinventing a piece of Israeli history that claimed more than 3,000 defenseless Palestinian refugees. Waltz with Bashir took me off-guard, and soon during the film, I found myself paralyzed with the bizarreness of the massacre and the insanity of war itself.

“It could only be done by animation,” the director answered in a frank manner during the talk. If the film were a live interview of seven men, it wouldn’t have been possible. The animation format integrated the dream sequence of the vicious dogs and the emergence of men from the water with the overall theme of guilt and helplessness for the veterans from the 1982 Lebanon war. Veterans, similar to Ari Folman, found themselves unable to cope with the psychological distress, for they knew nothing about what had happened to them during the war. As memories were told from one to another, one usually found memories evolve overtime. In the end, the memories might not be what had exactly happened but what one wanted the memories to be. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz

Waltz with Bashir

The ravaging dogs at the beginning of the film chase you into a story of confusion, a slowly unfurling lick of flame.  It’s a slow paced documentary that keeps your eyeballs nailed to the screen, a rarity.  And with its beautiful animation and mysterious quality Waltz with Bashir is a film that invokes the word awe.  Its stylistic approach to the portrayal of a true story, the story of a man trying to find a past that haunts him with strange dreams gives the film a universal sense.   Beyond that it is a war story, death permeating the screen, bringing you closer to a reality you hope you will never face.  [Read more →]

December 11, 2008   1 Comment

Waltz with Bashir: Animation of War

Upon entering the theater to see Waltz with Bashir, I was very unsure as to what I should expect. I knew that it was an animated film but not much more than that. As the lights went dim and the first scene began the audience is thrust into a state of terror as a pack of rabid dogs tear across the screen. This sudden entrance into a particular scene is typical of this movie as it chronicles a man’s search for his lost memories regarding the war in Lebanon that he was involved in. The story is told in a somewhat abstract fashion as it continuously jumps from the narrator’s life as an older man to his memories from the war as a young soldier. [Read more →]

December 9, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz with Bashir: Animation of War

Waltz With Bashir

The movie starts out with one of the characters being pursued by ravaging dogs racing down empty streets and alleys. As the dogs run, mothers cling to their children and people jump out of their way.  This is the recurring dream of a man who has been through war; he is pursued by every dog he shot at the entrances to the Lebanon villages. [Read more →]

December 6, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz With Bashir



Director Ari Folman described his work as applicable to the soldiers of any war. True to this description, Waltz with Bashir, while avoiding mediocrity through its unique art style and articulate direction, fails to ever accomplish anything previous war movies have not. [Read more →]


Waltz With Bashir

Weird Dream

Weird Dream


With a title like “Waltz With Bashir,” one may expect a dance documentary or a movie about ballroom dancers, but that was not the case at Ziegfeld Theatre for the New York Film Festival this year. Instead, I was blown away by an animated feature about the 1982 war in Lebanon. It is the personal story of its director, Ari Folman. [Read more →]

November 23, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz With Bashir

Waltzing With Bashir

Ari Folman as himself

Ari Folman as himself

“Memory is the most subjective thing in the world, I realize that memoryis alive”. Filmmaker Ari Folman reflected, meditatively leaning his chin on an open right palm, during a talkback on his unique animated documentary “Waltz with Bashir”.
It is the fantastical quality of his memories of the Lebanese War and his own personal guilt of his participation that led him to believe animation was the only channel that would do his memory justice. The animation, done by hand, focuses more on facial contours and highlights, in an attempt at realism. The seemingly simplistic, lines that make up his furrowed brow and shadows under his eyes, are still accurate enough to translate self-torture and a guilty conscience.
Apart from being a genre all itself, “Waltz with Bashir” is a personal reflection of an Israeli soldier who believes that a “memory repressed is a memory conserved”. In this case the memory would be the blind massacre of innocent Palestinians, during the Lebanon War by vindictive Bashir supporters. The Christians were enraged that their leader Bashir was murdered and they took it out on the refugee camps where people that were living there for years. Bullets and blood emitted from all directions and this destruction underwent a transition to actual film footage. Women, drifted across the screen screeching, flailing, pulling their hair, all in an open supplication for an answer to the cause of the destruction of their homes and families. This shows his acknowledgement that animation cannot fully invoke pathos as strongly as actual camera footage. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   1 Comment

Waltz with Bashir

“Waltz with Bashir” was definitely out of the ordinary and separated itself from the usual documentary. Although a bit unusual, the animated documentary, directed by Ari Folman, was unique in that it was a surreal depiction of the guilt, death and shock of war – to the soldiers and of what really happened.

“Waltz with Bashir” is based on a true story of Folman’s life and experiences in the Lebanon War in 1982, a time of violence and conflict when Israel forces invaded southern Lebanon. At a bar, he meets a friend who tells him of the persistent nightmare that comes back to haunt him everyday – an image of 26 menacing dogs. Ari realizes that he does not remember anything during his service in the Israeli Army mission and decides to travel around the world to find the missing pieces of his life and relive his memory. [Read more →]

November 12, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz with Bashir