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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

About Movie Adaptations


"The book was better".

Here, we all agree - always.

Of course it was! One stands to the other as a 1€ hamburger to a meal in a top restaurant.

(If we are talking about a work of literature, that is. A John Grisham is obviously a different matter). 

For how can one squeeze an 800 page novel into a 2-hour movie?

Only by stripping it from everything that made it literature in the first place.

We’ll have to quickly snatch the main plotline, and eliminate all the rest. Reduce the number of characters and strip the main ones of most of their deeper layers. Summarize the inner world of each personality in one tale-telling action. Forget about psychology or sociology, bar the most basic one. Etc.

I am not belittling movies. Hey, I studied cinematography. It is an art form in itself.  

And I can really like movie adaptations. Truly enjoy them. Once in a while even find them masterful or unforgettable.

In general though they seem to only tap into the popularity of a novel; a fast track to the next buck.

A movie keeps being a quick snack, a tapa that does not leave many traces; no remaining footsteps on the beach of our inner life.

It's the jingle version of a symphony.

Someone has 'done the imagination' for us. We can say ‘oh, the movie-trilogy Lord of the Rings is so imaginative’… but only when we don’t have a lot of imagination in the first place; it’s ready-made imagination.

We can sit back, without any fear that someone will make an appeal to our grey cells. We know: for the next 100 minutes we will not have to organise a single thought.

A work of literature though is action. It is our travel and life companion for days, if not weeks - and for that reason in itself it can make such an ever lasting impact.

A work of literature has travelled with us for weeks. AND it has put our senses and grey cells into motion... and has thus penetrated further into our brain. 

Great literature can stay there forever. 

The movie adaptation for a few remarks during a few conversations. 





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