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Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story

by Ari Folman and David Polonsky

Publisher: Metropolitan

Format: Softcover, black & white, $18.00

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8892-2

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

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.