In grad school I remember sitting down to watch Waltz with Bashir. It had come on Netflix and I had heard about it. I remember watching the first 10 minutes of it and either something interrupted me or it was just too heavy for the moment. Either way, I never finished it. I happened to be at my library and saw the graphic novel, which made me wonder if I shouldn’t read it before I went back to the film. So I did.
Waltz with Bashir is the story of a young man who is trying to remember his involvement with the Sabra and Shatila massacres during the war in Lebanon in the 1980’s. The young man realizes that he’s having some mental blocks so the whole story is him trying to track down and retrace his memories by speaking with others who were there. Eventually, by piecing together the other’s war experiences, the reader and the young man are able to fill in the gaps his memory has blocked.
War affects people in different ways and “Waltz with Bashir” certainly forwards that idea. There’s a sense of foreboding about the plot; that the readers already know more about what happened than the protagonist. Ultimately, the reader and protagonist are made very aware of what happened. The idea of how point of view affects our memory and our conscience is questioned in this graphic novel and brings up many good questions about war and guilt.