Film Review: Waltz With Bashir

Ari Folman’s animated documentary of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon is perfectly surreal.

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In 1982, filmmaker Ari Folman served as a foot soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces during his country’s invasion of southern Lebanon. For more than two decades, he buried his memories of the conflict—until an old comrade in arms named Boaz told Folman about his strange recurring nightmares. Every night, Boaz said, 26 wild dogs raced through his dreams, one for each of the real dogs he’d shot so as not to alert the enemy during a nighttime mission. Inspired by his friend’s story, Folman tracked down and interviewed his fellow soldiers and pieced together this haunting animated documentary.

Waltz With Bashir, which swept last year’s Israeli Academy Awards, blends past and present, reality and dreams to evoke the surrealism of combat. Troops sail off to war on a commandeered yacht; a soldier shooting while dodging enemy fire looks as if he’s dancing a waltz; tanks roll into battle as pop songs blare on the radio. As the former soldiers tell their stories, the war comes into disturbing focus, and their flashbacks build to a horrific coda. In Folman’s hands, the animated medium takes on gravitas: Pixels and paint cells convey the passage of time, the madness of war, and the horror of the memories that he must finally confront.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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