The Written Image: Jellyfish

Plenty of literary writers have worked in the movie business as screenwriters—from Faulkner to Fitzgerald to Didion and Dunne, who collaborated on the screenplays for The Panic in Needle Park and True Confessions, among others—but seldom have they made the leap from novelist or short story writer to film director. The image above is a still from the movie Jellyfish, by an Israeli fiction writer who has also carved out a career behind the camera. Etgar Keret and his wife, screenwriter Shira Geffen, codirected the film; it will premiere in the United States in April. Jellyfish tells the interlocking stories of Batya, a waitress who takes in

a child apparently abandoned at a local beach; Keren, a bride who breaks her leg at her own wedding; and Joy, a domestic worker who has abandoned her son in the Philippines. Shot in Tel Aviv, in Hebrew, Jellyfish was awarded the Camera d’Or for best debut feature at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection of the Toronto International and Telluride film festivals. Also in April, Keret’s most recent collection of stories, The Girl on the Fridge, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated by Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston, it includes stories from Keret’s last book, The Nimrod Flipout (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), and three earlier collections. Keret will be featured at this year’s PEN World Voices Festival, which will take place in New York City from April 29 to May 4.