Waltz with Bashir

Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): Ari Folman
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 58 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

They stand there, barking.

I see their mean faces.

They've come to kill.

And they tell my boss Bertold:

"Give us Boaz Rein, or we'll eat

your customers. In 1 minute!"

- Exactly.

How do you know

there are 26 and not 30?

I'm coming to that.


- Well what?

Do you check it out?

What do you think happens?

I wake up!

- At that point every time?


It always stops there.

Since when?

- Two and a half years.

And you call me now, at this hour?

- A**hole!

Don't call me an a**hole.

This dream is coming from somewhere.

I haven't told you everything.

- Like what?

You know, in Lebanon...

What about Lebanon?

At the start of the war,

we went into Lebanese villages

to search for wanted Palestinians.

Yeah, and?

When someone enters a village,

the dogs smell and bark to alert.

Everyone wakes up,

and the fugitives take off.

Someone had to liquidate them.

Otherwise our men would have died.

But why you?

They knew I couldn't shoot a person.

They told me:

"Go ahead and shoot the dogs!"

I remember every single one.

Every face, every wound,

the look in their eyes... 26 dogs.

How long before they started

appearing in your dreams?

Have you tried anything?

- Like what?

Therapy, a psychiatrist,

Shiatsu, anything...

No, nothing. I called you.

I'm just a filmmaker!

Can't films be therapeutic?

You've dealt with all the issues

in your films, right?

But nothing like this.

No flashbacks from Lebanon?

No. Not really.

Are you sure?


Beirut, Sabra and Shatila?

- What about that?

You were only 100 yards away

from the massacre!

More like 200 or 300 yards.

The truth is

that's not stored in my system.

No flashbacks or dreams?

You never think about it?


You'll be okay, huh?

You think so?

- Sure.

You 're sure?

- Yes. I'll think of something.


- Sure.

The meeting with Boaz

took place in winter, 2006.

That night,

for the first time in 20 years,

I had a flashback

of the war in Lebanon.

Not just Lebanon, West Beirut.

Not just Beirut,

but the massacre

at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

What's wrong?

It's 6:
30 in the morning!

We all have friends

who are lawyers, doctors, therapists...

Sometimes that friendship costs them.

But you wouldn't

wake your lawyer friend at 6:30!

My lawyer is 10 times cheaper than you!

I just don't understand.

Why Boaz's dream with the dogs?

Why that to jog my memory?

It has nothing to do with me.

Memory is fascinating.

Take this psychological experiment...

A group of people were shown

Nine were really from their childhood

and one was fake:

Their portrait was pasted

into a fairground they never visited.

Eighty percent recognized themselves...

They recognized the fake photo as real!

Twenty percent couldn't remember.

The researchers asked them again.

The second time, the others said

that they remembered the image.

"Such a wonderful day at the park

with my parents."

They remembered

a completely fabricated experience.

Memory is dynamic. It's alive.

If some details are missing,

memory fills the holes

with things that never happened.

So my vision of the massacre

is like the fake photo?

It never happened?

I invented it? It's not real?

I don't know.

Who was there with you?

Carmi was there.

You know him from school.

And someone else I don't recognize.

So go ask Carmi what he remembers.

- He's in Holland.

He's lived there for 20 years.

Go to Holland and ask him

if it bothers you.

Isn't that dangerous?

Maybe I'll discover things

I don't want to know about myself?

Not at all.

You'll discover important things

that you want to know.

We don't go places

where we really don't want to.

A human mechanism

prevents us from entering dark places.

Memory takes us

where we need to go.

See all that?

It's all mine.

All of it?

From those trees to the river.

It all belongs to you.

- Yes, and the house.

It's about 10 acres.

All that just from selling falafel?

- Just from falafel.


- Come and see.

How much falafel did you sell?

- Three years was enough.

In the early '90s

I had a small stand in Utrecht.

Health food was in fashion.

The Middle East too...

Falafel is both healthy

and Middle Eastern.

Everyone thought you'd become

a nuclear physicist.

Who did?

I don't know, your family,

my family, our school friends.

They thought that by the age of 40

you'd be nominated for a Nobel prize.

By 20 that future was over.


Cold? I'm freezing!

- Let's go inside.

We have to talk all that way?

It's funny you've showed up now.


- When you called...

I had just gone out with my son Thomas.

He's seven.

He was playing with a toy gun

and started asking questions.

"What did you do in the army?

Ever shoot anyone?"

Did you?

- I don't know.

Let's go inside and warm up.

Would you mind if I sketch

you and your son playing in the snow?


Not at all. Draw as much as you like.

I'll fetch him.

It's fine as long as you draw,

but don't film.

As strange as it sounds,

we were transported to war

on a little "Love Boat"

leased by the army or God knows what.

They wanted to mislead the enemy

and launch a surprise attack.

What do you mean a "Love Boat"?

With jacuzzis and bars?

All of that?

- That's how I imagined it.

I later found out it was

just an old commando boat.

For 18 you seemed pretty bright to me.

I never took you for a fighter.

Frankly, it was important to me

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Ari Folman

Ari Folman (Hebrew: ארי פולמן) (born December 17, 1962) is an Israeli film director, screenwriter and film score composer. He is perhaps best known for directing his animated documentary film Waltz With Bashir as well as directing the live-action/animated film The Congress. He currently plans to direct an animated drama film based on the life of Anne Frank during the Holocaust. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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