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

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