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Waltz With Bashir

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Ellen West - web producer | 17:54 UK time, Friday, 3 October 2008

A few weeks ago I went to see the brilliant animated documentary Waltz With Bashir by Israeli director Ari Folman. You may wonder if animation can carry the weight of a feature-length documentary about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and if it can, just why you would want to watch it. The answer is because it is a profoundly intelligent and gripping story of somebody attempting to understand their past.

I went to a screening with Eddie (the Culture Show Editor) and Emily (one of the Series Producers) and we came out stunned by the thoughtfulness and beauty of the film.

When a conversation with a friend sparks memories of his time as a soldier in the Israeli army, Ari Folman decides to visit different people he knew during the war to try and make sense of the fragmented images in his head. What follows is a film that combines the striking music and visuals more usually found in fiction with first person reports of quite recent historical events. The film is bound to prove controversial, having at its centre the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, but Folman focuses on the broader issue of how war affects people rather than apportioning blame. Waltz With Bashir is at the London Film Festival and will be on general release in November.

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