Photos from Anne Frank Foundation
Text by Melanie Hough
Seventy years since the publication of Anne Frank’s canonical "Diary of a Young Girl," the Anne Frank Foundation announced the launch of a graphic adaptation by screenwriter and film-maker Ari Folman and illustrator David Polonsky, the creative team behind the film 'Waltz with Bashir'.
The "graphic diary" is not a straightforward translation from word to picture, but rather seeks to complement its source material, which is one of the 20th century's most widely-read historic documents. Illustrated in a vernacular contemporary to today, it evokes the immediacy of the witness account while referring to its past context, immersing the reader in the story without impersonating the original.
With more people using images to communicate than ever before, expert visual storytelling has the potential to make a universal impact. This involves an innate responsibility to whose story is being told. Imaginative and fond, this graphic diary engages the contemporary reader and asks them to revisit the original text. It reminds us, with exceptional imagery, that the past is vividly present.
“We try to bring this document alive and show the quality that is in it. The diary as a book itself is alive, it has a lot of humour and it is there, it will not disappear, it will not be replaced. It is a beautiful work by a beautiful person.” - David Polonsky, Illustrator
As a clear-sighted, first-hand narrative, Anne Frank’s own diary is a generous resource not only for historians, but also for artists. Folman and Polonsky’s Diary introduces her voice into our present; we can only be onlookers into the past, but in such a vivid re-telling lies the opportunity to experience a renowned text with fresh eyes.
“With today’s decline in the number of kids who read, it is essential that the story continue to be told in a different way. The Graphic Diary is the perfect solution for the next generation, because it will be beautiful to look at and still portray the entire Anne Frank story, but adapted to today’s children. To reach the readers of the diary you also have to find their language without making any concessions to the original text. This is what we are trying to achieve.” - Ari Folman, Screenwriter and Film-maker