Tag Archives: Literary adaptation

Ugetsu Monogatari

Adapted from three different sources, Kenji Mizoguchi’s masterpiece owes a great debt of gratitude to cinematographer, Kazuo Miyagawa.

Arrival

No matter how cinematic, all films are nothing more than a form of writing that borrows from other forms of writing. Which is why Arrival comes in code.

Ex Machina

What if science-fiction were not a literary genre but a political and ideological theory. If so, Alex Garland uses Ex Machina to show us how he sees the world.

The Shining

In adapting Stephen King’s best-seller, Stanley Kubrick drew on a genre other than horror and used a new motif that he would repeat for the rest of his career.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

If such an inscrutable character sits at the heart of John Le Carré’s labyrinthine plot, how is the adaptation such a lucid film?

Let The Right One In

The vampire genre is so ripe with themes of Christianity, paganism, sexuality, feminism, xenophobia and disease, did Let The Right One In break new ground?

The Diary of a Chambermaid (1964)

Of the four adaptations of Octave Mirbeau’s controversial novel, Luis Buñuel’s version is by far the most faithful… and radical.

Gladiator

Going into production, Gladiator had nothing near a finished script yet one simple change to the start of the story turned it into the greatest opera ever filmed.

Cold War

Despite its title, Cold War is not an espionage thriller. Instead, Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based it on his parents’ lives. But it’s not a biopic either. So what is it?

Edward Scissorhands

Ever wondered where snow comes from? That and all manner of other wonders – and horrors – are uncovered in Tim Burton’s classic fantasy.

No Country for Old Men

While Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel broke genre convention, the Coens’ adaptation is a study in audiovisual chaos.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This western opened new frontiers for the genre; celebrity and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Films about writers are tricky propositions but you can roughly divide the genre into two eras; pre- and post-Mishima.

There Will Be Blood

Many audiences complain that Daniel Plainview is unlikable. But where is it written that characters have to be likeable? Characters only have to be interesting.

La Belle et la Bête

Fairytales transcend not just generations but cultures. Which may explain why La Belle et la Bête exists in so many guises and confronts so many issues.

Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali translates into English as Song of the Road, but the production was so arduous and fortuitous it should be called Song of Miracles.

Letter from an Unknown Woman

Max Ophuls’ adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella is more than a romance; it explores memory, delusion and the meaning of art.

Les Diaboliques

Often called the greatest thriller Hitchcock never made, Les Diaboliques is based on a book written to catch the attention of the Master of Suspense.

The Gospel According to Matthew

How did a blasphemous, homosexual, Marxist, atheist manage to make the greatest film about the life of Jesus Christ?

A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel is still relevant today because the Ludovico Technique is conversion therapy: Pray Away The Gay.

La Ronde

Released in 1950, Max Ophuls’ adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s scandalous play is a landmark exhibition of theme and style operating in perfect harmony.

Babette’s Feast

In adapting Karen Blixen’s short story, Gabriel Axel chose to omit the politics and focus on the religious parable. But really, it works best as a recipe for life.

The Leopard

All countries have troubled histories they would rather forget. The Leopard is a masterpiece that admits to those troubles as well as the failure to fix them.

Vertigo

Is Hitchcock’s Vertigo really the greatest film ever made? Certainly, it is a compilation of his many themes and tropes, as well as a critique on cinema itself.

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