Adaptation

We can all agree on one thing about this film, and that one thing is that it is truly an original, artistic film. Thisfilm was one I has to watch over a few times to try to follow the different concepts posed. The film allows for an insight on a screenwriters average day in recreating a novel into a visual. It’S CLEARLY something which is not done overnight, and requires a lot of attention to detail. So many questions to pose on this abstract movie I don’t know where to begin. When it first started with his monologue, and the black screen, it immediately reminded me of what I do when I have a thousand things on my mind and can’t sleep. I didn’t need to see the image in order to get that, but others around me, asked what the point of that was. What I did not understand was the point of the glimpse of labor.

I am going to focus on the quote which stuck out to me most in this movie. “John Laroche says Because they’re so mutable. Adaptation is a profound process. Means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
Susan Orlean: [pause] Yeah but it’s easier for plants. I mean they have no memory. They just move on to whatever’s next. With a person though, adapting almost shameful. It’s like running away. “

SO here I pose a question, is it our nature to try to find ways to adapt everything in our surroundings? Is adaptation controllable to our society? John Laroche would say it’s the only way to exist, is to figure out how to adapt. Susan Orlean is more of the person to want to stop adaptation.

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5 Responses to Adaptation

  1. I didn’t find the movie fascinating. Nor was it a mind trip. There was too much voice over. The movie (script and editing) is done in such a way that it’s supposed to seem like so wow and amazing. But it’s just how the parts were assembled. (It could have been assembled in a more linear fashion, but to be artsy, it had to be all jumbly). The film wanted to show what happens in a screenwriters head when s/he writes an adaptation. The need to not somehow betray the original work is front an center, but that is intertwined with the screenwriter’s sexual repression and his need to jerk off to every woman he encounters. Maybe, that’s it. The movie is an exercise in mental masturbation. And the final product is just a cum soaked thing that’s edited to be more than it is.

    But it has a pretentious way of showing it. Just like Donald and Charlie are written into Charlie’s script, there is a “real” Donald and Charlie who have written their way into their screenplay. Maybe, I’m a terrible person who can’t appreciate “true art” or “true genius,” but I hate it when a movie becomes too enamored with it’s own supposed genius. They started talking about like wow deep thoughts and like wow man. But at the end Charlie is just on a constant masturbation high and Susan is just high.

    There has to be an easier way of talking about adaptation that this movie.

    Maybe I’m an English major snot. Wait, I am an English major snob (though I hate poetry and I hate Shakespeare). But I think the original work is more difficult to write than the screenplay — than the adaptation. If anything, what we see from the movie, is that the adaptation becomes it’s own “original” work

    • Laura Callei says:

      Vishal-

      I think I have to agree with you in your distaste for this film, although I do believe that it portray’s a real struggle for a screenwriter creating an adaptation piece. It just did not intrigue me quite like I hoped it would. I do think that it fits perfectly to our class and I can understand the reason why this film would raise a lot of debate in our class because It brings up the question we have been discussing almost every class and that is the struggle to adapt a beloved novel into a film. Charlie studies the book throughout the film, wanting to create this amazing adaptation to this work he seems to enjoy, but struggles so immensely throughout the film that the relationships in his life struggle to develop. I cannot say I loved this film, but I can say that I appreciate what the film is trying to evoke in the struggle to adapt a novel into a movie.

      An Aside: I adore Meryl Streep so it is so hard for me to say I did not “love” this movie. Don’t worry Meryl, I still love you just not this film!

  2. “There has to be an easier way of talking about adaptation that this movie”–I’m sure, but why would we take the easy way?!

    “it’s just how the parts were assembled”–I think Eisenstein would say “yeah–that’s the point–it’s not just about character but about montage” (although Bazin might disagree).

  3. But why would you want to take the hard way when you can be just as productive going the easy route? Are we, the audience, just not going to get it if the film wasn’t edited the way it was? Am I just not going to understand if the movie was more linear? My physics professor told me: “Vishal, simplicity is beautiful.” I think that’s great advice.

    If this is the case regarding montage, then it just becomes a way to be different in a industry that’s always looking for a different way to tell the same story. Being different gets you Oscars. But that’s all montage does then. It’s like have a million advertising firms trying to sell me beer. They all trying to come out with a commercial that catches my eye. Montage acts the same way: how can we move the viewers eyes around so that they think they’re seeing something new and wow inducing. That’s what *Adaptation* did. Because so many things were going on, at different times and involving different characters at different times then at the same time, the viewer is led to think that something amazing is happening — that they must pay attention or they might miss something — that something especially special is going on — when that isn’t the case. If too many things are going and the audience can’t follow, then there is an overuse of montage. It has to strike a right balance between being too simple and being complex. Montage then just adds complexity to a movie. A book can be complex as hell while being linear. It doesn’t need to use tricks to pull me in.

    • I think your definition of montage is grounded in a pretty specific time and place–consider Eisenstein and those other early theorists who were arguing about the essential qualities of cinema, and how there are different kinds of montage. In some definitions, rather than being just tricks, montage is actually the primary vehicle of meaning.

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