Archive for August 25th, 2007

August 25, 2007

>Three books, Three movies – part 1


The Hours

by Michael Cunningham

“To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away”.

I read the book before i saw the movie, actually, right before i saw it back in 2002. The lines were fresh in my memory and the images, the sounds, the feelings, it all became perfectly real in the cinema screen. It was too much to absorb in such a short time: words, images, piano melodies, madness and lives. Three lives of three women, in different times, united by a single book – Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa is in New York in the 1990s, she wakes up and she’s going to organize a party in honor of a beloved friend. Laura lives in a LA suburb in the 1950s, she has what people would call the perfect family, but the perfection doesn’t suit her. At last, there’s Virginia Woolf, placed in the british country side writing the already mentioned novel. It gives me goose bumps every time i see one of the first scenes in the film where the characters are beggining to be intertwined, the scene that evolves the decision of buying flowers at early morning. And what to say of Philip Glass soundtrack? I’m speechless. Listen to it here.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

“What are you doing here, honey? You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets. And it was then Cecilia gave orally what was to be her only form of suicide note, and a useless one at that, because she was going to live: “Obviously, Doctor,” she said, “you’ve never been a thirteen-year-old girl.”

I read the book after i saw (and loved) the film, despite the fact i never really understood the point of the story. But reading the book didn’t give me any further answers, the book lies in mystery, as the story of the five voiceless Lisbon sisters are narrated many years later by the boys who never really knew their deepest inner secrets, who desperately tryed to penetrate their isolation, but failed. The most original thing about this book is how it’s narrated by a group and not by a single character or by an author’s judgemental look. The story takes place in an american suburb in the 1970s, where people seemed to live in a bubble, a bubble that was about to burst. I think the essence of the book was very well captured by Sofia Coppola. Those who didn’t like the movie shouldn’t waste their time reading the book, then.

Little Children

by Tom Perrota

“It’s the hunger, the hunger for an alternative and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness.”

When i first watched Little Children trailer last year, i immediatly thought this was going to be my darling movie of the year. Soon i started reading the book, and as the book was very good, and the trailer was the best trailer of last year (in my opnion), i was expecting to watch a masterpiece. It wasn’t the case. The book is SO MUCH better. In the story, Sarah, an ex-bissexual, and now a married woman and mother of a little girl, is trapped in her american suburban life, which she never dreamt for herself. There’s also Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad, whose good looks earned him the label “The Prom King”, by the moms of the local playground.

Both frustrated and trapped, the two young adults are going to start a torrid love affair that will go further than either of them could have imagined. There’s a second plot that follow throughout the book, a former “child molestor” who recently moved back to the quiet suburb, provoking the anger of a particular parent and the collective concern of others. What disappointed me in the movie wasn’t the fact the child molestor’s character was portrayed as an innocent little kid, for example, but the fact the director concluded the film in a moralistic, judgemental and a sort of overdramatic way. The essence of the novel lies in irony, from its beggining to its end. But of course i’m not going to describe its last lines here and spoil it to you.