By Bill Marx
Recently, the World Books podcast got about as close to Hollywood as it is probably ever going to get. I talk to Israeli artist David Polonsky about the acclaimed animated documentary “Waltz With Bashir,” directed by Ari Folman.
The Israeli film won the Golden Globe Award as the Best Foreign Language Film of the year and was also nominated for an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film. Polonsky was the movie’s art director. He also created, with the help of Folman and a team of Israeli illustrators, the full-color graphic novel adaptation of “Waltz With Bashir,” which was recently published by Metropolitan Books. Like the film, the book is the story of Folman, an army veteran of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon who had forgotten – or repressed – memories of the war.
I spoke to Polonsky a week before the Oscar ceremony from his office at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he is teaching this semester. We talked about the relationship between the graphic novel and the film, charges that the book was an attempt to cash in on the film, and his next project with Folman, an adaptation of a short novel, “The Futurological Congress,” by one of my favorite science fiction writers, Stanislaw Lem.
And World Books is more than my weekly podcast – the online feature includes reviews, interviews, news, and commentary on international literature. Coming up: my review of “Life As It Is,” a collection of hypnotically melodramatic stories, originally written for a newspaper column, by playwright Nelson Rodrigues, who has been called the Tennessee Williams of Brazil. Those who want to talk about that and other issues about international fiction and culture should go to the World Books Facebook fan page. Agree or disagree, I want to hear from you.