cover image Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story

Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story

Ari Folman, David Polonsky, . . Metropolitan, $18 (117pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8892-2

While it must have been no easy task for Israeli filmmaker Folman and chief illustrator Polonsky to turn their groundbreaking, Golden Globe–winning 2008 animated documentary into a graphic novel, the transition from film to page is flawless. Folman's story is the account of how he came to grips with the repressed memories of the time he was a soldier in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. As much a study of the fungible nature of memory as a dissection of the ease with which war zones can dehumanize ordinary soldiers, Waltz with Bashir uses the same journalistic technique for self-examination as David Carr did with Night of the Gun . Folman goes from one fellow veteran to the next, trying to get somebody to tell him what he can't remember. Bit by bit the holes are filled in—though never completely; the narrative is never cheapened by turning it into a simple mystery to be solved—as Folman sidles closer to the war's central horror: the massacre of Palestinians by Christian militias at two refugee camps. Utilizing frames that seem cut straight from the film, the book threads together Polonsky's darkly gleaming nightmare drawings into a seamless whole. (Feb.)