On its release in 2008, Ari Folman's animated documentary Waltz with Bashir was heralded as a brilliant and original exploration of trauma, and trauma's impact on memory and the recording of history. But it is surprising that although the film is seen through the eyes of one particular soldier, a viewpoint portrayed using highly experimental forms of animation, this has not prevented Waltz with Bashir from being regarded as both an "autobiographical" and "honest" account of the director's own experiences in the 1982 Lebanon war. In fact, the film won several documentary awards, and even those critics focusing on the representation of trauma suggest that this trauma must be authentic. In this sense, it is the documentary form rather than the animation that has had the most influence upon critics.
As Studying Waltz with Bashir will show, it is the tension between the two forms that makes the film so complex and interesting, allowing for multiple themes and discourses to coexist, including Israel's role during the Lebanon War and the impact of trauma upon narrative, but also the representation of Holocaust memory and its role in the formation of Israeli identity. In addition to these themes that coexist by virtue of the film's unusual animated documentary format, Waltz with Bashir can also be discussed in relation to a broad range of contexts; for example, the representation of war in film, the history of Israeli Holocaust cinema, and recent trends in experimental animation, such as Richard Linklater's Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006), as well as Folman's most recent live action/animation work The Congress (2013).