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Psychiatr Danub. 2012 Sep;24 Suppl 1:S70-6.

An exploration of how film portrays psychopathology: the animated documentary film Waltz with Bashir, the depiction of PTSD and cultural perceptions.

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The Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham England, Acute Pennine NHS Trust, UK.


With the inauguration of the UK's first ever Medical Film festival MedFest in 2011 there has been resurgence in the interest of the association between psychiatry and film. The festival in 2012 was titled "HealthScreen": Understanding Illness through Film and its aim, according to the founder Dr Kamran Ahmed, was, 'To stimulate debate of the social, political and ethical implications of portrayals of health and illness on our screens' (1). Waltz with Bashir is a 2008 Israeli animated documentary film written and directed by Ari Folman. It portrays the protagonist (Folman) in search of his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War and his attempt to both decipher them and reconcile himself with them. 2012 marks the 30th year commemoration of the Sabra and Shatilla tragedies. Waltz with Bashir vividly depicts the massacres of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut through the lens of an ex-IDF serviceman and the harrowing effects that PTSD has on him. Waltz with Bashir was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film however despite the popularity of the film and much critical acclaim it is officially banned in Lebanon. The authors are mindful of the devastating effects that the atrocities have had on the mental health of all those who were involved, the Lebanese, Palestinians and also the Israelis. The purpose of this presentation is to explore how the film Waltz with Bashir portrays PTSD and how it has influenced cultural perceptions.

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