The ProsenPeople

Waltz with Bashir: The Book

Monday, February 02, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Created simultaneously with the Award winning film, Waltz With Bashir: A Lebanon War Story (Ari Folman and David Polonsky), the graphic novel, will be published by Metropolitan Books on February 17th. The novel, and film, depict Folman’s exploration of war, repression, and remembrance in connection to the 1982 war in Lebanon. Drawing on the stories of other soldiers and his own returning fragments of memory, Folman pieces together the war and his place in it.

In the interview accompanying the press release for the book, David Polonsky answers how the experience of reading the book is different from seeing the movie:

David Polonsky: The role of the viewer changes in an interesting way. In the cinema, as a filmmaker, you own the audience, but with a book it’s completely reversed. You’re at the mercy of the reader, who can close the book at any moment. To say it differently, the book puts the story into the reader’s hands while in the movie theater the viewer is in the hands of the storyteller. So the job of keeping the reader’s attention is more of a challenge. Also, I’d say that in the graphic novel the story is tighter, we were able to present the historical facts more clearly, and the panels, without the special effects of the movie process, are more detailed and refined.

And the audience’s relationship to it is different. The pace of the book allows for a better grasp of the nuances and a more reliable transfer of information. Reading a graphic novel, you’re not in danger of losing track of the story and you have time to pause over the panels and take in details that otherwise fly by. Another thing is that in the book the drawings are able to stand as art in their own right, and you see how much of the story the carry. Both the illustrations and the reader’s mind get to play a larger role.

And…a preview of the book:

Image used courtesy of Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company and authors Ari Folman and David Polonsky

And…here’s the trailer for the movie:

Check out PW for more information about the book.

For a longer excerpt, click here.