Monday, February 23, 2009

Literary Oscars

Now, that the Oscars have come and gone, I want to point out that a novel makes a good picture, even the Best Picture. The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire were novels. The other two were also based on other literary forms--Benjamin Button (short story) and Frost/Nixon (play). I find it interesting that Hollywood is turning to already developed stories to make a movie.
Now, I've never written a screenplay (yet) or adapted a story for the screen, but I assume it's much easier that starting from scratch. Hollywood comes to a story with well-developed characters, plot, and a beginnning, middle, and end. What a dream!

I was thrilled when Slumdog won for best picture. I loved it! But I have to say the movie that hit my literary bone was The Reader. (Spoiler alert!) A major reason why Winslet's character Hannah makes such disasterous choices is because she is illerate. Hence, that's why she wants people to read to her.
A friend of mine was doing her dissertation on HIV in Thailand. She looked at sex workers and their behaviors. She found out that if a girl has four years of formal education, her chances of turning to prostitution greatly diminishes.

The imortance of education, particularly literacy, touches my very core.


Los Angelista said...

I noticed that as well. I used to dread books I loved getting turned into movies because they invariably reeked, but it seems like Hollywood is doing a much better job adapting for the screen these days.

The literacy piece is so very important. I always think about how California projects how many prison beds it's going to need based on the reading test scores of 4th graders.

Sundry said...

Jeez, those are amazing stats. Depressing if not addressed.

I wonder about the difference between adapting and writing anew. You'd think it would be easy, but the adapter really has to have an eye for the core of the story. I actually have seen a couple of films that were better than the books they were based on.