Waltz with Bashir (2008)
Origin: Israel | Fiction | Director: Ari Folman | 90 minutes
Waltz with Bashir
Ari Folman Animation Israël 2008 90 min.
In 1982, Ari Folman was a 19-year-old IDF infantry soldier. In 2006, he meets with a friend from that period, who tells him of the nightmares he's having connected to his experiences from the Lebanon War. Folman is surprised to find that he recalls 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 clearly 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 others who were in Beirut at the same time, to understand what happened there and to revive his own memories. Folman converses with friends and other soldiers who served in the war, among others a psychologist, and Israeli TV reporter Ron Ben-Yishai, who covered Beirut at the time. 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 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.