The film is structured like a conventional documentary, with Folman visiting old army friends and piecing together what they saw and remember. The freedom of animation allows him to visualize what they tell him -- even their nightmares. The title refers to an Israeli soldier losing it and firing all around himself on a street papered with posters of the just-assassinated Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel -- thus, waltzing with Bashir.
Several years after its release, people still debate the many facets fueling Ari Folman‘s Waltz with Bashir. Just recently, a video essay entitled Waltz with Bashir: Echoes of a Forgotten Past considered the many points of this film’s ethical boundaries — what it represents, how it represents that, and what ethical lines can be drawn from this.
In war, they say, no one sees the big picture, the men at the top least of all. "Waltz with Bashir" opens with a recurring nightmare had by a friend of , who wrote and directed the film. It is described to Folman in the course of his attempt to reconstruct what actually happened during days when he was present; he has the confused impression that the truth of those days was just outside his grasp. He sets out to interview Israeli army friends who were also there, and his film resembles "" in the way truth depends not on facts but on who witnessed them, and why.
The debate still continues about the inaction of the Allies in not bombing the rail lines leading to the death camps, although there were bombs to spare for bombing German civilians. Now "Waltz With Bashir" argues that Israel itself is not guiltless in acts of passive genocide, an argument underlined by the disproportionate Israeli response to the provocations of Hamas. We may be confronted here with a fundamental flaw in human nature. When he said "The buck stops here," Harry Truman was dreaming. The buck never stops.