Waltz with Bashir

“Waltz with Bashir is a 2008 Israeli animated documentary film written and directed by Ari Folman. It depicts Folman in search of his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War.”

  • Opening Scene: A pack of angry dogs runs through backstreets and a park, arrive at an apartment building, introduction to main character. (haunted by the past…the dream/vision/nightmare of these dogs).
  • Flashback to army/war days.
  • Cold feeling of doubt and regret, some decision made in the past has made an impact on the present.
  • Delusion: Tall blue naked women swims towards boat, lifts the deluded man and returns to the water. An image of a mans dream. In the distance, the boat suddenly explodes, the sky turns from blue to orange, representing a disturbance.
  • New flashback of the army men, open-firing at a Mercedes, killing a whole family.
  • Interview with soldier, the hard times of being the last man still standing in his crew. The other two tanks retreated.
  • Time lapse of reconstructed footage of soldiers who celebrated the bombing and shooting of the lost soldiers. (Above).
  • JUX: Classical music as bombing takes place in what appears to be a pleasant setting.
  • Bashir is simply dancing in the middle of the street, shooting at the enemy in all random directions. The next day he was murdered.
  • Flares signifying hope and attention to need (help).
  • Dead children
  • Archival Footage of the event

Audience Positioning:

Challenging Conventions:

Representations made through Conventions:


Initial Response:

  1. How did the film make you feel? Explain your response, making reference to moments from the film to illustrate your points. The animation has that cartoonish feel and therefore has positioned me to respond in a humorous way. It is not until you see death where you start to question yourself, yes there is death in cartoons, but this film is a documentary, and was not created for entertainment. The shootings of innocent families and lonely struggling people in the last 30mins is just horrific. The death of soldiers is to be expected seeing how this is a war, but even still the death of a person is still wrong, in my mind.
  2. How closely did the film match the expectations you had from the trailer and the poster? What i saw in the trailer is what is saw in the film, all about confusion, war and death. The poster is basically a still shot from a scene in the film. What i expected was what i got.
  3. How would you categorise this film if you were to describe it to someone who hadn’t seen it? Imagine fear and death right on your door step and multiply it by eleven. Waltz with Bashir is an intense and dramatic documentary which graphically explains the horrors of the war experience
  4. Now consider the film in terms of genre. In what ways does Waltz with Bashir qualify as a documentary? What generic conventions do you remember seeing in the film? Beyond war and documentary, what other genres could Waltz with Bashir be placed in? Several use of flashbacks, archival footage, interviews and juxtapositions were used to outline the message that was being shown about the experience of solider who fought in the war.


    1.  How are the Christian – Phalangists and the Palestinians represented?

    2.  Did you feel sympathetic towards any particular characters or groups? What factors do you think affected the way your sympathies lay?

    3.  What comparable characterisations and stereotypes do you recall from other war films?

    Mise en Scene:

    1.  Aside from any economic considerations, do you think animation was the best way to tell this story? Would it have worked as well if it were live image throughout?

    2.  How is each ‘interview’ and flashback differentiated visually? Consider backgrounds, lighting and signifiers.

    3.  How effective do you think the film’s use of real-life footage was?

By trentwhitworth


1974 Documentary – Philippe Mora > Born in 1949 Paris, France then moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1951.

Opening scene:

  • Statistika rotating in space with german triumphant music in the background… the sound of marching.
  • Berlin, Germany 1933-1939
  • A vision of happy Germans passing each other in a uniform like, no sense of danger or fear as Hitler has not turned to a vision of negativity. The setting is clean and no panic arises.
  • Black and White footage suddenly changes to Colour as film was so important. So the Germans were capable of developing colour footage then the Americans (late ’50’s).
  • Hitler appears in a private German castle-like building, in colour.
  • Art and Culture was very important, but it had to be structured around Germany (the Nazi party mostly).
  • Several hundred and thousands of Germans gathered in the centered of Berlin, celebrating and praising the German party. Power has over taken the mind, and such today these Germans are blind to the horrible execution of the Jews.
  • Slow-motion montage of Hitler – shows his superiority – not really about Germany, all about his work and how he got into power.
  • Archival footage is mostly used and has the most power to manipulation.
  • Fireworks display of Hitler, his face and a sign “HAIL HITLER”.
  • Propaganda Minister – proud to present the German ideology.
  • Nazi merchandise was sold to the public to increase support over the current 700,000 of them.
  • Catholic religious songs such as silent night are played during the triumph – symbolising Hitler to be as good or better then God. Amen was replaced by “Hail Hitler” – prayer, was praised before eating meals.
  • The media such as the Radio is used to communicate and broadcast Hitler around the Europe.
  • After the loss of WW1, massive unemployment occurred, and so Hitler made sure that everyone had a purpose and worked, earning back the German pride of a strong community. ‘Go build roads, train tracks and buildings…we have to rebuild this country from the ground up’. – By this Hitler was building his Army.
  • Montage – Repetition of the same message being played over and over until it gets to the point of confusion. (An audible mess, distortion).
  • Slow-motion shot of achievement through patting on the back.


  • Berlin 1936 – The 12th Olympic Games (Experimenting with TV technology (one of the first broadcasts)
  • Jesse Owens wins the olympic event – not a good look for the German race.
  • The Germans are getting ready for WWII – Army, the beginning of Hitler wanting Europe to be German.
  • The training of German soldiers, and them writing home.
  • Sound effect of German soldiers marching (A brainwashing effect)
  • Juxtaposition – Hitler happy playing with child, cuts to poor jewish children begging.
  • First bit of footage outside of Germany. New York, USA jewish protest to the Nazi Party.
  • Albert Einstein flees to England. (Jewish German)
  • Destruction of poland, then Germany (1945) – Everything that Hitler built has been blown up. Nazi Germany is defeated. Echoing of german soldiers in slow motion – ghost like.
  • Shot of the jewish concentration camps… death.
  • Hitler announced dead.
By trentwhitworth