I’m unsure what it was about this man, maybe it’s because he’s French, but goddamn was his pieces difficult to read. They shouldn’t be difficult, because they were relatively straight-forward, but still. Ahem.
Whenever I think of film, I inevitably think of movies today. I’ve watched older movies (I’ve seen The Blob and some other sci-fi movies, the original House on Haunted Hill, etc. This is all because I got a discount on Amazon Prime tv and movies for a year), but I feel as if he’s talking about a radically different cinema than I’m used to or that I expect. And, well, he is.
I ask myself: In today’s cinema culture of remakes, superhero movies (I’m not interested in seeing Avengers *barf*), movies based on video games (I love Resident Evil, but not Doom), reboots (Batman, Superman, and Spiderman), do I really think that books are better than movies? My answer: No. Well, maybe a little. Movies today are there for when I don’t want to think; nonetheless, books are special in their own way and so are movies (except superhero movies *projectile vomiting*). I wonder how much of the brain is engaged when we watch movies vs. when we read books? Though, I think the answer is obvious.
Bazin argues that contrary to popular? thought, new art feeds off of the old art until it gets its own legs, but cinema was the special child. It started off with over original ideas, then began adapting more heavily. But literature and cinema (movies?) have a symbiotic relationship to each other. Maybe symbiotic is the wrong word — a mutual need? mutually beneficial? — to describe the relationship. Though, while film can adapt, literature doesn’t want to admit that the door swings both ways (Am I saying they’re gay? *smiles*). There are some genres of literature that are more visual than word obsessed, i.e. comics and graphic novels. (I throw those out, but I could be wrong, so please don’t beat me up with your knowledge). Fantasy novels also must be focused on visuals to produce that otherworldly effect. A novel like The Lord of the Rings relies on visuals heavily to get the basic message of how good (white, Nordic-looking people) are just super-cool and neat compared to evil (brown, dirty, black, Arabic-looking people; and don’t forget the physically handicapped, i.e The Great Eye).
I think — I’m unsure what the problem is? I don’t think that film is less than literature. Nor do I think that adaption is a raping of literature. Adaptation is the production of a new piece, like translation works away from the original. I saw an interview with the cast and three directors for the new movie Cloud Atlas and the newly publicly minted Lana Wachowski said that the directors wanted to make a movie about the what was going on in their heads while reading the book. That shows an immediate remove from literature. Tom Hanks also talks about this thing called “cinematic literature,” which can both be cinema which is an adaptation of literature and literature which is cinematic.
Below is the full video. Lana also says something great about this movie that I think can be generalized, i.e. this idea about not being high brown or low brow but one brow. Film, I think can pull that off better than literature. Start watching from 11:32, where the discussion of adapting the book into a movie begins.
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