Waltz With Bashir

Waltz With Bashir

A Lebanon War Story : [a Graphic Novel]

Book - 2009
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In Beirut in September 1982, while Israeli soldiers secured the area, a Christian militia entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and massacred hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians. Ari Folman was one of those Israeli soldiers, but for more than twenty years he remembered nothing of that night. Then came a friend's disturbing dream and with it Folman's need to excavate the truth of the war in Lebanon and answer the crucial question: What was he doing during the hours of slaughter at Sabra and Shatila? Stunningly original in form, Waltz with Bashir follows Folman's journey deep into the darkness of Beirut. Drawing on the stories of other soldiers and his own returning fragments of memory, Folman painfully and candidly pieces together the war and his place in it: the senselessness of the soldiers' orders; the fear that pervades every moment; the casual bloodshed of civilians, culminating in the massacres themselves. The result is a graphic novel that is as damning as it is beautiful. An indictment of violence of extraordinary power, Waltz with Bashir will take its place.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2009
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780805088922
080508892X
Branch Call Number: Arts 741.5 FOL
Additional Contributors: Polonsky, David

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sit_walk Nov 13, 2009

The film is probably better. As a graphic novel it feels a bit terse and rushed.

quagga Sep 26, 2009

In 1982, there was a two-day massacre of Palestinian civilians who were living in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beruit. Lebanese Christian militiamen carried out the killings of men, women and children, while Israeli defense forces controlled the entrances to the camps. Hundreds of refugees were marched out of the camps and afterwards unaccounted for and bodies were bulldozed under rubble in the camps as well, so the death toll is uncertain. The number of dead may be 700 (the official Israeli figure) or as many as 3,500 (the Palestinian estimate).

Ari Folman was an Israeli soldier stationed in Beirut at the time of the massacre. He was barely 19 years old. He had no memory at all of the events, however. It wasn't until 2006, when a friend talked to him of his nightmares that were related to the atrocities of that time, that Folman decided to retrieve his memories and face his own culpability.

Waltz with Bashir was originally an animated documentary. David Polonsky was the art director and chief illustrator for the film. Polonsky's realistic artwork in the book version uses sombre shades of full colour.

Folman explores the senselessness of war. I was reminded of Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers - the way Birdy cannot see any reason or larger purpose in the madness - when Folman's friend Carmi describes the pressure and fear and "shooting like maniacs" at anything they see. At one point, an Israeli officer is watching porno on television. He gives Folman his orders without looking at him, without taking his eyes off the screen: "Listen, we got a hot tip. A red Mercedes is going to explode on your men, so when the car comes, blow it up." Folman asks, "Every red Mercedes?" And the reply is, "Are you some kind of idiot or what?"

Folman is definitely not an idiot. He documents his search for the truth and his own humanity in this very powerful memoir.

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