It it jarring, compelling, disturbing and thought-provoking.
Now, after sparking debate in Israel, the award-winning, animated Israeli war film "Waltz With Bashir" is coming to the United States.
The documentary film about a haunted Israel's exploration of his role in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila is winning spots on film critic lists for the best films of 2008.
Last week, it was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Film category, and is set to be Israel's official selection for the Academy Awards.
"This film manages to touch people who don't even know what continent Israel is on," said director Ari Folman. "That's the beauty of cinema, that's its power."
As with "Beaufort," the stark, Oscar-nominated 2007 Israeli film about the last soldiers to leave Lebanon in 2000, "Waltz With Bashir" offers a personal exploration of life as an Israeli soldier caught up in often-inconceivable inhumanity.
“This film documents — really documents — the feelings and sensations and emotional experiences of a simple soldier in a war which is very similar to those being conducted now in Gaza and in the West Bank,” said Ron Ben-Yishai, an Israeli journalist famous for his reporting of the 1982 war and a character in the film.
The film has generated raw debates in the Middle East. Some see it as a thoughtful exploration of Israel's culpability in the Lebanese massacres. Others think it fails to show the true impact of those events on the victims.
When Arab-Anglo blogger Doshka saw the film in Israel in June, she offered a thoughtful review that captured the nuance and complexity of the story.
"You leave the theater somehow forgiving of Israel's limited role in the massacre because they talk about it, examine it, acknowledge to their culpability as it arises," Doshka wrote."Which is true, if we are just talking about Sabra and Chatila, and Ari. But Ari, this is about you, but it's also not just about you... Despite the criticisms I have, this is an utterly worthwhile film. As art, its beautiful. As a story, it's one of the important stories, belonging to a narrative of this region's mishmash of memory. It's worthwhile too, for its use of irony, music and surreal montages. It's worthwhile for its self-reflective criticism: a shot of a tank in Sidon seen from the outside crushing cars and bashing holes into homes _ and seen from within the tank as well."
The film opens in the US on Dec. 26th. Look for it in a theater near you.