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Adaptations

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Since its inception, cinema has dialogued with, incorporated, and even cannibalized other art forms—pre-existing texts—and the immense question of adaption has long been a foundation of film art. To explore this vast, challenging basis of storytelling, we offer this eclectic on-going series, which ranges from spry reinventions of Shakespeare on the streets of Buenos Aires to a freewheeling Portuguese adaptation of timeless Middle Eastern folk tales.

Time Regained

Raúl Ruiz Frankrike, 1999

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Adaptations

Who could ever adapt Marcel Proust? With a rare inspired adaptation of his writing that’s so difficult to transfer from page to screen, the Chilean exile and dream-spinner Raúl Ruiz is up for the task! Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Béart, and John Malkovich lead an all-star cast.

A Chinese Odyssey - Part Two: Cinderella

Jeffrey Lau Hongkong, S.A.R. Kina, 1995

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Adaptations

Jeffrey Lau’s intrepid adaptation of the Monkey King tale concludes with this majestic finisher. Continuing to synthesize an array of genres to brilliant effect, the multi-hyphenate Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) dazzles in this adventure of time traveling misfires, unexpected romance, and destiny.

A Chinese Odyssey - Part One: Pandora's Box

Jeffrey Lau Hongkong, S.A.R. Kina, 1995

gick ut för 12 dagar sedan
Adaptations

An inspired, action-packed take on the timeless Chinese novel Journey to the West, the legends of the Hong Kong New Wave unite for this marvelous diptych adaptation. Weaving pure fantasy with slapstick, giant spiders, and even time travel, this is a brilliant zenith of cinema as spectacle.

Venus in Fur

Roman Polanski Frankrike, 2013

gick ut för 14 dagar sedan
Adaptations

Adapted from a play by David Ives—itself inspired from the novella of the same name—Roman Polanski won his fourth César Award for Best Director for this metafictional period drama. Both smart and playful, a wicked two-hander starring Mathieu Amalric and regular Polanski star Emmanuelle Seigner.

Minnen av lycka

John Huston Storbritannien, 1987

gick ut för 16 dagar sedan
Adaptations

On the birthday of one of Hollywood’s greatest—directors, screenwriters, voices—John Huston, we share his final feature. Never afraid to transform literature into vivid cinema—he took on Hammett, Melville, Kipling, O’Connor, Crane—this is an achingly felt, richly observed adaptation of James Joyce.

The Man from London

Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky Ungern, 2007

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Adaptations

After transforming two László Krasznahorkai novels into epic monuments of Eastern European art-cinema, husband-and-wife team Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky surprisingly turned to French crime novel master Georges Simenon for an unforgettable re-interpretation of film noir. Co-starring Tilda Swinton!

The Duchess of Langeais

Jacques Rivette Frankrike, 2007

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Adaptations

After taking Balzac in radically new directions with 1971’s conspiracy epic Out 1, Jacques Rivette returned to the author for this silken, haunting tale of romantic obsession. On the surface: a costume drama; underneath: the dark shadows of doomed love. With Jeanne Balibar and Guillaume Depardieu.

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon USA, 2012

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Adaptations

Amidst filming the The Avengers, television auteur Joss Whedon took a break and pivoted to this low-budget and ingeniously faithful Shakespeare adaptation. Shot in a mere 11 days with close-knit theater collaborators, Much Ado About Nothing is luminous in timeless Shakespearean charm and insight.

Legenden om den vita ormen

Ken Russell Storbritannien, 1988

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Adaptations

Iconoclast Ken Russell transfers Bram Stoker’s final work to modern Scotland and ups the delirium in this delightfully smutty adaptation. Hugh Grant stars as the vampire hunter tasked with the titular coven, offsetting hijinks of camp, sleaze, and an endless array of phallic symbols. Splendid.

Anatahan

Josef von Sternberg Japan, 1953

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Adaptations

Realized from a first person account of being marooned on the Japanese island of Anatahan after WWII, Josef von Sternberg controversially recreated the disputed events with his baroque, magnetic touch. Whether truth or fiction, Anatahan offers a potent look at social power structures in microcosm.

Tape

Richard Linklater USA, 2001

Utgånget
Adaptations

To reimagine a stage play as cinema, inventive American auteur Richard Linklater turned to shooting on video for its dynamic, tactile possibilities. The result is the fittingly titled Tape: an electric showdown between truth, memory, and the male ego inside the single locale of a hotel room.

Cosmos

Andrzej Żuławski Frankrike, 2015

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Adaptations

Next in our series devoted to ingenious adaptations is the final film by the ferocious Polish auteur Andrzej Żuławski. He transforms an almost unfilmable book by his fellow countryman Witold Gombrowicz into a clamoring melodrama of tremendous verve and surprise. Read our interview with Żuławski.

Arabian Nights - Volume III: The Enchanted One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

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Adaptations

Who would have thought austerity measures could trigger such an epic tale of tales? Gomes explores Portugal’s fractures with unmatched originality, sharpness and love—both to his country and to the act (and art) of storytelling. This is the last volume, but we certainly wish it would go on forever.

Arabian Nights - Volume II: The Desolate One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

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Adaptations

The second installment of Miguel Gomes’ magnum opus is arguably the most melancholic of the three. While the whole trilogy is a unique blend of fine irony, dark humor, blissful fantasy, and fervent commitment to the present, this middle section confirms Arabian Nights as the ultimate political film.

Arabian Nights - Volume I: The Restless One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

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Adaptations

We’re kicking off a new series devoted to Adaptations and their multitude of cinematic approaches to pre-existing texts. First up is Miguel Gomes’ triptych vision of modern Portugal told with the inspiration of the timeless folk tales of Arabian Nights. An inventive masterpiece in three parts.

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