Films & Schedules

  • Waltz with Bashir

  • Ari Folman

87 minutes

Production Company:
Bridgit Folman Film Gang/Les Films d'Ici/Razor Film/Arte France/ITVS International
Ari Folman, Yael Nahlieli, Serge Lalou, Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
Ari Folman
Director of Animation: Yoni Goodman

Nili Feller
Art Director: David Polonsky

Aviv Aldema
Max Richter

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures
US Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
International Sales Agent:
The Match Factory

Thursday September 0409:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0704:00PM AMC 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Ari Folman's animated documentary Waltz with Bashir is a seminal entry into the canon of war films. Told from the very personal point of view of Folman himself, it is a ferociously honest exploration of the reliability of memory and the long-term impacts of violence on young soldiers.

In 1982, having sustained constant attacks from its neighbour, Israel invaded Lebanon. Soon after, Israeli soldiers, including Folman's brigade, allowed Christian Phalangist militiamen to invade the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Thousands of men, women and children were slaughtered. While not directly responsible for these heinous acts, the Israelis (mostly teenaged soldiers like Folman himself) tacitly assisted by sending up flares to illuminate the night sky and, many feel, by standing by and allowing them to occur.

The film's opening sequence follows twenty-six wild and angry dogs as they run though a town, stopping to bay with rage under a man's window. This scene is the recurring nightmare of one of Folman's army comrades, and it is his dream that inspires Folman to search into his own past. While he knows that he participated in the war, Folman has virtually no memory of the events. He goes in search of his fellow soldiers, hoping that by collecting their memories he will be able to recreate his own. Twenty-five years after the conflict, Folman's new recollections elicit unsettling residual feelings and perspectives, including an uncomfortable parallel between the massacre at the refugee camp and the Holocaust.

Folman has elevated the film's impact by securing the extraordinary involvement of Yoni Goodman, who created astonishing animations of images originally shot on film. This visual approach elevates Waltz with Bashir beyond our jaded impressions of ever-present news footage and into the surreal terrain of image and memory. Folman does not delve into the politics of the conflict, choosing instead to subjectively explore a dark chapter in his (and Israel's) life. His conclusion, made in the last few shocking moments of the film, is a tribute to the filmmaker's own moral honesty and to generations of young people scarred by ungodly acts of war.

Jane Schoettle

Art Folman was born in Haifa, Israel. He is a director, screenwriter and composer who has created the films Comfortably Numb (91), Saint Clara (96), Made in Israel (01) and Waltz with Bashir (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award