Ms Powling has been discussing the relationship between books and films in her blog.
Listening to our students, I don’t think anything will replace the experience of reading the “good” or compelling novel, but movies can enhance experiences. Comparisons between graphic novels and films are tailor-made to start discussions about books and films. Both are visual mediums but are also very different.
Over the weekend I found out about yet another story that has been told visually. This time it is a true story, from the point of view of a young Israeli soldier. The story illustrating the horrors of the Israeli-Lebanon war, became an animated film that won awards in 2008 and was extremely well received in many countries. I had not heard of the film and searched for something about it on YouTube. The official site tries to explain how the animators used illustrations to create the unique atmosphere, created with a rather dream-like (nightmare) quality at times. It took 4 years to complete.
I watched a trailer of it after I found and read the graphic novel that was published after the film. Ari Folman, a screen writer and director, wrote his own story in Waltz with Bashir. He also directed the film and he, along with David Polonsky, created the graphic novel entitled Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon war story.
The story in the book is complex and compelling. The images and the text combine to help the reader to glimpse the horror that is war, the banalities, the strangeness of the situations the soldiers experience and the way that they deal with it after they have left the battlefields. I feel I must now go out and find the film. We have been studying All quiet on the Western Front this year and Waltz with Bashir could certainly be used as an extension piece.
Whilst I was searching for more information about the movie and it’s director, I came across the following YouTube Video. It is a great panel discussion about the power of visual storytelling and one of the 3 panelists was our own Shaun Tan. This is a long video but there is so much interesting discussion about their approaches to creating their stories. It is also very interesting to hear about their inspiration especially the illustrators and artists that inspire them.