The horrors of war and the atrocities of which humans are capable of have, of course, been documented extensively in film since the birth of the medium. From the recent slew of documentaries on the Iraq war to Atom Egoyan's controversial 2002 Cannes debut Ararat (about the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman empire); from Schindler's List to The Killing Fields; from The Battle of Algiers to Apocalypse Now; from Ousmane Sembene's last film, Moolaadé (inspired by the genital mutilation of young girls in Burkina Faso) to The Devil Came on Horseback (a documentary chronicling the genocide in Darfur), recent cinematic history is filled with tales of human suffering, inflicted not by natural disasters, but by human beings upon one another.

Waltz with Bashir documents the struggle of the filmmaker, Ari Folman, to come to terms with the gaps in his memory surrounding the part he played in the first Lebanese war and the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the West Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Where Marjane Satrapi'sPersepolis (to which this film will be inevitably, if somewhat inaccurately, compared) used stark black-and-white animation based on Satrapi's graphic novels to tell the history of one girl growing up during the Iranian revolution, Waltz with Bashir uses vivid, hand-drawn animation to bring to life interviews Folman conducted with friends who were involved in the Lebanese war in the early 1980s to bring to life harrowing memories of death, guilt and regret.