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Waltz with Bashir [Blu-ray]
Waltz with Bashir
Actors: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Dror Harazi, Yehezkel Lazarov
Director: Ari Folman
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War, Animation
R     2009     1hr 30min

Genre: Drama Rating: R Release Date: 23-JUN-2009 Media Type: Blu-Ray


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Movie Details

Actors: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Dror Harazi, Yehezkel Lazarov
Director: Ari Folman
Creators: Ari Folman, Nili Feller, Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul, Serge Lalou, Yael Nahlieli
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War, Animation
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/23/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 12/26/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Hebrew, English
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

David M. from WALKERTON, IN
Reviewed on 6/8/2012...
This is well done animation about a disturbing event. This also forced me to check on some history of the events on which it is centered.

Lebanon was a mess for years. The June 6, 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel did not help matters any. Their provocation for the invasion were PLO safe havens in southern Lebanon from which attacks were being mounted against Israel.

Apparently Israel was complicit in the attacks on the Sabra and Shatila (Palestinian) refugee camps by allowing Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia into the area to slaughter the inhabitants.

This was in retaliation for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalange party and president-elect of Lebanon, although the Palestinians had nothing to do with it.

The film depicts Israeli assistance by firing starshell illumination flares over the camps, presumably so the phalangists could see what they were doing. It also shows the Israelis doing nothing after they discover what is happening in the camps. A military commander telephones a senior (Israeli) government official explaining the situation, which results in no action being taken.

Interestingly enough, this movie was made by Israelis, so no one can cry anti-semitism as they always do when someone criticizes Israel.

No doubt the power of the Israeli lobby probably had something to do with this film not winning an academy award.

Pardon the political diatribe here but billions of dollars in US aid to a client state in the Middle East only endangers our standing in the world. No wonder they all hate us.

I am not a big animation fan but this struck me as very well done. I watched to the end in one sitting.

Watch this movie then do some investigating for yourself. It can be quite revealing.

Movie Reviews

A New Kind of Documentary
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Waltz with Bashir"

A New Kind of Documentary

Amos Lassen

Israel's entry in the Oscar race gives a new definition of the genre of documentary film. The idea of an animated documentary may seem to be paradoxical to some but this may be a whole new way to present an idea. Basically, the film rakes place in a bar, an old friend tells "Bashir" director, Ari Folman, about a nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. The dream comes to him every night and the two men decide that there is a connection between the dream and their connection to an army mission during the war on Lebanon in the early 80's. Ari surprises his friend and himself when he realizes that he cannot remember anything about that period in his life. They decide to interview old friends and comrades all over the world in order to find out what really happened during that time and as Ari goes deeper into the matter and the mystery, his memory begins to return with surreal thoughts and images.
"Bashir" is a very disturbing look at war and its consequences on people and nations. It compares the atrocities of the Lebanon war to other wars as it mixes dream sequences with surrealism and real life events. The film thereby mixes reality with illusion. It is in your face and very powerful.
The event that is the center of the film is the massacre at Sabra and Shatila un which Palestinians were murdered by Christian Phalangists as revenge for the assassination of their leader, Bashir Gemayel. Although the Israelis did not participate, or perpetrate the killings, they did nothing to stop them. The animation in the film is seen over the recorded speech of actual participants in the '82 war.
Folman's journey of introspection begins with his lack of memory and it seems that all he and his fellow soldiers have left is their dreams. One of the former soldiers believes that the dream he has of the vicious dogs is subconscious punishment for his killing dogs on the mission. The film follows a stream of personal anecdotes and because much of these stories are dreams, Folman chose to tell them through animation with the exception of the final scene and this is the scene that gives justification for the film. Therefore the film has a feeling that is both evocative and down-to-earth. We see war as reprehensible and ugly and as the stuff that nightmares are made of. It is not about who won the war, who was right or who made mistakes. It is about how we, as people, react to war and how it affects people who are involved in it.
Primarily "Bashir" is about the trauma of conflict, memory and its repression but it is also about the specifics of Israel's role in the Lebanon war and about war in general as it is experienced by fighting men. It revels truth by taking the viewer back in time through the memories of people who witnessed it. It devastates as it reconstructs how and why innocent civilians were massacred because those with the power to stop what was going on did nothing. We do see that Israel is not without guilt in acts of passive genocide which goes against the Israeli response to what Hamas provokes.
From the very first frame of film the movie grabs the viewer and will not let him go even after the film is over. The movie cuts deeply by using images of youth and this brings what he says home. This is more than just a movie, it is a total experience that will probably change the views of many.
Sure-fire Oscar winner up-ended by the industry's "long-stan
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 02/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm compelled to write this review after watching the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Foreign Film selectors botch yet another award. David Ansen wrote in Newsweek last year about how the selection committee's decision-making, umm, 'process' is the industry's "long-standing joke." The right films don't even get nominated (Ansen's article centered on the egregious omissions last year of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and The Band's Visit). And the ultimate winner is often the ultimate head-scratcher: faced this year with two sure-fire classics - this film and the equally worthy French offering The Class (Entre les murs) [Theatrical Release] - the committee chose instead the little-known (and almost completely unseen) Japanese nominee Departures [Theatrical Release]. With all due respect to those filmmakers, you could hear the sense of bewilderment in the hall as the dazed winners (I suspect even they were dumbfounded) made their way to the stage. I'm sure that bewilderment was mixed with murmurs from an audience of insiders - something along the lines of "unbelievable, they've blown it again."

A shame because this film is among the best you'll ever see - it's writer/director Ari Folman's attempts to deal with his repressed memories of his role in the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres during the 1982 Lebanon War. Folman's innovative use of animation allows him to re-stage the memories of his fellow soldiers. At the film's end, Folman's role (or at least his proximity to the events) is revealed and animation segues into real-life footage of what transpired in the camps.

The Golden Globe committee - with a far more firmer grasp on common sense than the Academy - handed 'Waltz' its award for the best foreign language film of 2008.

Ansen's article from last year reveals the Academy's "attempt to reform a misbegotten system," and concludes that "Mark Johnson, chairman of the committee, has vowed further reforms. History suggests it's going to be an uphill battle."

Keep working at it, Mr. Johnson. This thing is still broken."
A Powerful Work Of Art And Conscience.
Mr. Fellini | El Paso, Texas United States | 02/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Waltz With Bashir" is one of the great recent examples of how animation can be used not just as a tool for children's entertainment, but as a serious film medium that can have a powerful impact. It is unashamed at being an anti-war film, this is because the director lived and survived the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel, he participated in it and had things to say through his memories and talent. Some on here are going nuts by bashing the film as "anti-Israel," shocked at a movie that would present a realistic, honest portrait of a certain political fantasy they want to keep alive as do most statist devotees. But "Waltz With Bashir" is not just about Israel, it is about war in general, about the experience of war and the brutal reality of violence. As an animated movie, it has deeper, more intelligent things to say than typical gung ho works like "Band Of Brothers" or even the recent "The Hurt Locker."

The film chronicles director Ari Folman's search for his memories of the Lebanon War and more specifically, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, a brutal massacre of Palestinian civilians by the Nazi-inspired Christian Phalange, which at the time was supported by Israel considering the Phalange's leader, Bashir Gemayal, was a potential puppet ruler the Israelis sought to install (for a detailed account of the whole war and the assassination of Bashir Gemayal, read Robert Fisk's brilliant book "Pity The Nation: The Abduction Of Lebanon"). Folman revists old army buddies to recount the war and his own memories of the night Israeli troops fired flares into the sky and stood by as the Phalange carried out is butchery.

This is not the sort of material one would immediately think of as cartoon material, but in the hands of Folman the movie is a masterpiece of the animation medium. The images are haunting and sometimes breathtaking in their depth and scope. Like the best films, the images sometimes say and express profound ideas not found in just the dialogue or plot. The beautiful music by Max Richter helps enhance the film's hypnotic power. Folman's story brilliantly travels from documentary to psychological landscapes, from questions of history and politics to topics of psychology and how memories work and transform themselves. Folman also manages to tell very human stories without resorting to holding big banners in our faces. The politics and other topics all come with a real sense of humanity.

One of the great achievements of "Waltz With Bashir" is how it uses its medium to explore the subject of war. There are moments as surreal as "Apocalypse Now" and as raw and honest as Oliver Stone's "Platoon." Folman is making big statements, but he makes them by simply sharing what he and his fellow soldiers witnessed during the invasion of Lebanon. The visions of war and death can sometimes be terrifying in their clarity. Like the great Israeli writers Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy, Folman doesn't march in step with those who only wish to glorify the Israeli state and every single one of its military operations, he puts a mirror to the reality of the violence and terror of war because no matter how much some try to paint over them with heroism, wars usually spiral into orgies of human corruption and criminal mayhem. In the era of Gaza and Afghanistan, "Waltz With Bashir" has very relevant things to say about the realities of occupation, the politics of war states and the human toll they impose on general populations. The ending of the movie is an especially shattering experience that brings the point home.

"Waltz With Bashir" asks tough questions, which is more than can be said about typical movies these days. It challenges the viewer, this is no doubt what disturbs the die hard Israel supporters on here who immediately respond to the movies with a whole scroll of "facts" or "historical notes" instead of discussing what Folman has to say, or even the accuracy of what Folman shows (and it is accurate even when one looks at Israeli scholarship on the issue). This is an important war film, because it is actually about war itself, it isn't just trying to tell a war story. Folman has made a work of truth and conscience, it will stand the test of time."