Sunday, January 18, 2009


Original title: Vals im Bashir
In Hebrew with English subtitles

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is an umbrella organization of all Palestinian resistance groups opposed to the Israeli state.

The Sabra and Shitila refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirut are the two largest in Lebanon with approximately 12,000 people in each.

In the spring of 1982 Yasser Arafat (Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and Commander in Chief of all PLO military forces) was instrumental in having a base set up in Southern Lebanon. From there the PLO fired Katyusha rockets at civilian targets in Israel's northern Galilee region.

On June 6, 1982 Israel Defense Forces under the direction of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon invaded southern Lebanon. Israel's publicly stated objective was to push PLO forces back 40 kilometers to the north. Tyre and Sidon, major cities in the region, were heavily damaged and the Lebanese capital Beirut was shelled for ten weeks.

On August 23, 1982 Bashir Gemayel was elected president of Lebanon. Although he did not cooperate with the Israelis publicly, his long history of alleged collaboration with Israel counted against him in the eyes of many Lebanese Muslims.

On September 14, 1982 nine days before he was due to take office, Gemayel was assassinated.

Ari Folman, former Israeli soldier
Boaz Rein-Buskila, Ronny Dayag and Shmuel Frenkel old Army buddies
Ori Sivan, a psychiatrist
Ron Ben-Yishai, a war correspondent

In an effort to find out what really happened during his tour of duty as a soldier in the war with Lebanon, Ari Folman interviewed those who were there too. He has chosen to tell his story using animation, not of the cartoon variety but the more realistic sort. In so doing he easily incorporates dream sequences that prompted him to begin this odyssey in the first place.

for some disturbing images of atrocities, strong violence, brief nudity and a scene of graphic sexual content.

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