One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images. Written by
Waltz With Bashir is amongst the finest animation films I've seen. It is a very disturbing comment on war and its consequences both on countries and on people of both sides. No doubt this approach has been taken by numerous other film makers; however what sets Waltz With Bashir apart is that it takes a documentary approach and compares Israel's activities in Lebanon with atrocities in the past wars.
Other than documenting events, the film also consists of surreal dream sequences and real life incidents. Thus the film emerges as a unique combination of the real and the unreal. The hand drawn animation also makes it a delight to watch. The colour gave it the right atmosphere of claustrophobia in open spaces and the background score is fabulous.
It is certainly not, as the Director of NZ Film Festival announced before the screening, a 'feel-good film'. It should appeal to people who have an interest in animation, documentaries, war and current affairs. 10 out of 10.
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