Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Canned Film Commentary

'The Blind Assassin' -- Margaret Atwood
"'The Blind Assassin'--Margaret Atwood" by Karol M

Lately, it seems like every book I've read is about to be made into a movie. (Well, I read the "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture!" edition of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, so that's on me, I guess.) Some of them, like Blindness and Memoirs of a Geisha, I had read and loved long before they had a page on IMDB. But with some of them, production details seemed to be springing up just as I was delving into the fictional world of the novel. Like The History of Love, and King Dork, which may not ever be made into films, anyway.

At any rate, and on a somewhat separate note, with certain books I read I can't help but cast the film. Sometimes, after I've put down an especially engrossing book for the evening, and I'm trying to fall asleep, I'll direct the film version in my head. Even before finishing the book; its a hobby of mine, in a way. I imagine the sets, and the scenes left out, and what technique the director could use to convey some abstract character quality.

I recently finished reading The Blind Assassin, and as I was reading I tried to imagine how the three different stories that are layered within the book would be conveyed. There is the present day character, an old lady, remembering her youth, the novel within the book, also called The Blind Assassin, and the story told between the two main characters.

For this prompt, even though it said "an imaginary film," I wanted to write what I imagined when I read The Blind Assassin instead of creating a wholly original film. I tried writing it several times, and kept using too many words. Also, I kept relying on an imaginary director magically telling the viewer that something happened, rather than on images, which is the whole point of this prompt. So I simplified the plot of the book, took some liberties manipulating the characters, and focused more on images.

It was still a struggle, and I'm not entirely happy with the end result. I wasted a lot of words with the main characters, and I sacrificed a lot of the plot for the introduction. Also, I found it difficult to conjure an animated world, a specific time period, and the effect of alternating scenes. Writing an abridged version of a very complex novel was hard too, and I worry that I cheapened the book by reducing it to the romance.

I do think the book would make a really cool movie, and I think it would be neat to use different film styles for the separate plots.

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