Waltz with Bashir is a very well done look into war and what people do to cope with what they have seen and done. Ari, the filmmaker, uses the movie as a means to investigate his own lost memories of his time served in the early 80’s during the War in Lebanon. As he interviews others trying to find people who remember, he discovers he is not alone. Many comrades have also blocked memories of the events, while others simply deny what occurred. The movie asks: “Am I a good person? Or do I simply not remember the evils I have committed upon others?” Twenty years later, it is only a conversation with a fellow friend plagued by nightmares that Ari’s memories begin to return.
The animation style looks like an advanced flash movie, using stark contrast or vivid color to draw the scenes and the people. The musical score is also well done and sets a sorrowful mood. The movie is almost entirely Hebrew with English subtitles.
The pacing is a bit slow; this is not a war movie. The plot is more of a detective story or documentary. Ari travels the world looking for answers, but often only finds only an additional piece of the puzzle and the name of someone who may know more. His hunt for clues and his own past also has him analyzing his dreams and those of his comrades.
I’d recommend Waltz of Bashir if it looks like it interests you. It’s a movie that requires an inquisitive and analyzing mind. You are not only shown what happens during a time of intense urban warfare but are asked to discover that mentality.