Waltz with Bashir (2008) — Israel
An animated bio-documentary? Yes. Writer, director, and producer Ari Folman was disturbed one night when his friend Boaz recounted a recurring nightmare in which he's hounded by a snarling pack of twenty-six dogs. The nightmare is clearly connected to his service in the Israeli army during the Lebanese war of 1982. For his part, Ari remembers very little about his life as a soldier. In this animated film, he interviews nine friends who were comrades at the same time in order to find out exactly where he was and what he did. On the personal level, the film explores moral guilt, uncontrollable fear, abandonment, the reliability of remembered history, the traumas of war, the boundary lines between the real and the surreal, and suppressed memories. On the political level, the film recalls a particular historical atrocity — the massacre of about 3,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, by Christian Phalangist fighters at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, in order to avenge the assassination of Lebanon's newly elected president, Bashir Gemayel. An investigation by the Israeli government later established its complicity in the atrocity. Can film not serve as a sort of therapy, asks one of Folman's friends. In Hebrew with English subtitles.