2012 Review of Film Adaptations

Adriana Prodeus

What the films in this year’s review of film adaptations have in common is the efforts made by the filmmakers the recreate the emotions that drive the books. In Joseph Conrad’s “The Duel” and Ridley Scott’s “The Duellists” these are bitterness and blind anger. In “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” by David Foster Wallace and John Krasinski they are contempt and jealousy. In W.G. Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn” and Grant Gee’s “Patience (After Sebald)” these are despair and melancholy.
They all have their own distinct style. Ridley Scott’s debut in 1977 is full of absurd humour, anticipating his film “Blade Runner”. It is hard to believe that the story Ridley adapted belongs to Conrad because it is so unlike his other work.
The young director John Krasinski was the first to dare to film the cult fiction of the writer David Foster Wallace. The monodramas of his various male “cases” are loosely connected in a serial fashion, and have gained recognition in the Sundance independent film festival.
Grant Gee, who has to his credit documentary films about Radiohead and Joy Division, created an evocative cinematic essay, true to the style and aura of Sebald’s writing. He has created for it a form of walking, discussion, a documentary poetics – something absolutely original in the world of cinema.
All three adaptations are also designed so that you do not need to know the literary original to enjoy watching. But you will want to rush out and buy the book before the film credits end.