Screening Room

Novels, Stories, Mini-series and Movies

By posted at 9:18 am on February 9, 2006 0

From the New York Times:

A grandfatherly figure, his bearded face wrinkled into a smile, peers down from billboards around town. It is surprise enough that the man is Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the once-exiled writer, Nobel Prize winner and, of late, octogenarian scold. It is even more so that the billboards advertise his adaptation – broadcast on state television, no less – of one of his fiercely anti-Soviet novels, The First Circle.

While the article goes on to say that Solzhenitsyn is not being embraced by all, I think this is an interesting example of a melding of literature and media to attempt to deal with history – rather like “Roots” the miniseries here in the US.

Another thought: In the comments of this post, Pete and I had a little back and forth about how, in light of “Brokeback Mountain,” it would seem that the short story is more sensibly adapted to film than the novel in that novels so often have to be pared down considerably to fit into two hours of screen time. It follows, then, that the mini-series is much more suitable for the novel. Considering how many literary novels get slashed in film adaptations, I’d love to see a resurgence of the mini-series as the preferred format for novels. (Bearing in mind of course that the PBS’ recent adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House proves that the form isn’t dead here.) And with novels like The Corrections (IMDb) and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (IMDb) in the Hollywood pipeline, I’d love to see them in their full splendor in a longer format.

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