The history of screen versions of works actually began with the arising of cinema. Films based on books are mainly divided into two types: flawlessly filmed (when the screen version becomes a reproduction of the book, but does not even allow you to get acquainted with the original) and unsuccessful (as a rule, with a superficial script, a heavily altered plot, which is inferior to the original). But there is also a third type - a successful interpretation: a screen version with a director's intention, a creative approach to the script, giving the original story even more charm and even new meaning.
Here are 10 examples of books and their screen versions that are worth reading and watching!
Hunting and Gathering (fr. Ensemble c’est tout). Anna Gavalda / Hunting and Gathering. Claude Berri
Anna Gavalda's second novel was a great success and there was a talk about its screen version immediately after the book had appeared. The French wanted to see only Audrey Tautou in the role of Camila, and Guillaume Canet became her partner, and in the end this couple looked even more charming than the author of the book presented them. But the old woman Paulette performed by Françoise Bertin became an excellent continuation of herself as a book character.
Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda is a touching story about an anorexic artist Camila, who overcomes her own complexes and psychological barriers in the company of her neighbor - the slow aristocrat Philibert, grumpy cook Frank and his helpless grandmother Paulette. All four of them got enough kicks from fate and created hopeless shells around them to become less vulnerable.
In vain - for happiness, you also need to be more sincere, at least with those who are nearby. This is what the heroes will have to learn among the decorations of an old Parisian apartment - just to be, coexist, sympathize and rejoice together. In the book you will find a much deeper reflection of the characters, more emphasis on music and art, but in the film you will find warmth, comfort, romance and subtle French chic.
Chocolat. Joanne Harris / Chocolat. Lasse Hallström
It is a bittersweet story about a chocolate shop that opened in a small French town to change the lives of its inhabitants, fascinated readers around the world and became the inspiration for the talented creator of beauty and romance on the screen - Lasse Hallström. Joanne Harris created a diary book, where the story is told on behalf of the eternal traveler, chocolate craftswoman and lonely mother Vianne Rocher and her antagonist - the priest of the provincial church Francis Reynaud. Their paths crossed on the eve of Easter, so that everyone would lose the ghosts of the past, learn their lesson and discover something new in themselves and the world.
This novel is shrouded in beauty, magic, secrets, the comfort of a warm kitchen and, of course, the aroma of chocolate. Harris creates extraordinary bright characters, writes simply about the difficult things and leaves out many things. In his turn, Hallström goes his own way and creates other original characters: this is how Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench appear on the screen, and a completely different interpretation of “Chocolat” unfolds before the viewer: juicy, but less bizarre and certainly complete.
Watching “Chocolat” is necessary because of brilliant acting, beautifully depicted details and unsurpassed music by Rachel Portman, and should “try” the original source because it has an exciting continuation in the form of two more sweet books.
The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald / The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann
Small in size, but powerful in spirit, Fitzgerald's book has firmly taken its place in world literature. “The Roaring 20s”, with their decadence, prohibition, culture of squandering “flappers”and bootlegging, became a vivid backdrop for the tragic story of the Don Quixote love of rich man Jay Gatsby of eccentric beauty Daisy Buchanan.
The book was filmed a lot of times and seemed to have exhausted itself on the screen, but the director Baz Luhrmann managed to embody a new life in a familiar plot, charge it with a powerful mood of unrestrained celebration, brilliant luxury and unsurpassed music. Luhrmann also found the impeccable Gatsby - Leonardo DiCaprio, who provided his image with an optimal dose of irony and charisma.
New York in the film looks like a magical scene with scenery, and the whole action seems like a fairy-tale, even with a sad ending. Sentence: read, because classics are immortal, and watch, because it is a very beautiful and high-quality movie!
Forrest Gump. Winston Groom / Forrest Gump. Robert Zemeckis
This is an example of how a good book can become a legendary film. Groom's satirical novel about a guy with savant syndrome, who manages to do so much in his life that would be enough for ten, according to the author's plan is a kind of look at the history of the United States of the 60s-80s - a cynical look, like Jaroslav Hašek in “The Good Soldier Švejk ”.
But the film version of “Forrest Gump” turned out completely different, because before the viewer a feeble-minded, but a kind hero, for whom joy and sadness, hardship and incredible success are waiting, appears. All this is depicted with subtle humor and light irony. In the book and the film, some of Forrest's adventures differ, which adds to the interest in both works.
But the main decoration of film version, of course, was Tom Hanks’s work, for which the actor deservedly received an Oscar. The story of Forrest Gump is an interesting saga. It is worth reading and watching a lot of times.
The Godfather. Mario Puzo / The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola
Consider that reading and watching “The Godfather” is an offer you cannot refuse, because first of all, Mario Puzo created the genre of gangster drama, created a brand called “Italian Mafia” and described the everyday life of the Corleone family and others mafia clans in detail and fascinatingly.
Coppola took over from Puzo, betting on the originality of the plot, and made a film that became one of the best in the history of cinema. Reading “The Godfather” is interesting because the book combines fiction and reality, with which Puzo was familiar, as an authentic Italian and as a journalist who actively investigated the activities of the US mafia clans. Acquaintance with this milestone in the history of organized crime can be continued thanks to other books of the trilogy: “The Sicilian” and “Omerta”, but do not confuse them with the films of the cycle - we are talking about completely different events.
At the same time, the screen version is a real masterpiece, which combined criminal battles, romance, drama and history in perfect proportion, as well as brought together wonderful actors on the set.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman Capote / Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Blake Edwards
In 1958, Truman Capote's autobiographical novel “Breakfast at Tiffany's” was published in New York. At that time, Capote was a very fashionable writer, he led an active social life and was a kind of “style icon” - what Capote considered beautiful or interesting instantly turned into a hit, so his book about the young extravagant Holly Golightly became extremely popular.
A screen version in Hollywood was planned immediately after the book had appeared: Capote dreamed of seeing Marilyn Monroe in the image of Holly, but the director and producers opted for Audrey Hepburn. As a result, the world received a brilliant film “Breakfast at Tiffany's”, where only a ghost remained of the heroes and the plot of the book, but the ghost is original, stylish and romantic.
Hepburn added elegance and grace to Holly's image, her outfits revolutionized the idea of fashion, and the song “Moon River” in her performance became the classics. So, no doubt, watch the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany's”, but take an interest in the original book, because in general it is a completely different story.
Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk / Fight Club. David Fincher
Palahniuk is a famous American writer of Ukrainian origin, and this fact should already interest the Ukrainian reader. The novel “Fight Club” outlined the style of the writer and made him famous. The author called it a work that represents a new social model for men, and indeed the book conquered a strict male audience and even became the beginning of several radical social movements in society.
Three years after the book had appeared, a movie of the same name appeared on the screens with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the leading roles. Critics greeted the picture coolly, but the audience elevated it to the level of a cult. The gloomy, comic, surreal view of the inability of the younger generation to interact with the value system, of which they consider themselves a part, became surprisingly relevant at the millennium boundary, and today it represents a certain revolutionary philosophy.
“Fight Club” is included in all the famous lists of films for men, although it will be interesting for many contemporary young ladies, and the book is worth reading, because it has a completely different ending, besides, Palahniuk wrote a sequel in the form of a serial graphic novel.
The Prestige. Christopher Priest / The Prestige. Christopher Nolan
Another screen version, which brought additional fame to the literary work, based on which it was filmed. The mystical novel “The Prestige” by the British writer Christopher Priest captivated the reader as a skillful performance of an illusionist. The rivalry between the two masters of magic and illusion unfolds on the pages of the book in a crushing war for the right to own “prestige” - a special effect, the product of magic that bewitches the audience.
The author pushes us behind the scenes of concert halls and other people's lives, infuses with illusions and reality, squeezes out the secrets of every detail, but reveals the final secret only in the finale, while a whole century passes inside the book. Priest hoped that it was Nolan who would take up the filming of his novel, and for good reason: the mysterious, atmospheric, surprisingly aesthetic movie with a whole arsenal of talented actors made “The Prestige” one of the best creations of modern cinema.
And interestingly, both Christophers - Priest and Nolan - managed to demonstrate their own “prestige”, because the novel and the movie have significant differences, but are not inferior to each other in the power of magic.
The Hours. Michael Cunningham / The Hours. Stephen Daldry
Three heroines, three stories, New York, Richmond, Los Angeles. The writer Virginia Woolf, who is writing her famous novel “Mrs. Dalloway” and suffers from a mental disorder. Lesbian Clarissa Vaughan nicknamed “Mrs. Dalloway”, caring for her writer friend who has AIDS, no, she does not suffer from a mental disorder, and thus leaves hope for the reader and gets some important answers.
Cunningham's book perfectly reproduces the states of cyclomitic depression, bipolar affective disorder, a person's path to suicide, and it may be of no interest only to those who have never experienced doubts or fears, or they deceive themselves about it.
The film of the same name is worthy of attention primarily due to the images reproduced by the three magnificent actresses Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore, because they made a real work of art out of this, albeit a philosophical, but depressing picture. And if in the filmography of Streep and Moore there are still many strong dramatic roles, then Kidman surpassed herself, rightly receiving an Oscar for the role of Virginia Woolf.
Read Cunningham's “Hours”, because really worth works receive the Pulitzer Prizes. Watch the screen version because it is the exemplary work of three dramatic actresses.
Howl’s Moving Castle. Diana Wynne Jones / Howl’s Moving Castle. Hayao Miyazaki
Diana Wynne Jones created a large-scale fantasy novel-tale about the adventures of a sweet girl Sophie, whom an evil witch turned into an old woman, and a Wizard Howl, who wears his own spell. In their company there are still a whole bunch of extraordinary characters endowed with various magical qualities and devoid of any human joys, so you will not be bored.
When legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki began to film “Howl's Moving Castle”, one could have guessed a masterpiece right away, but something more came out. The intricate story, admissible for the book format, was simplified, and the events from the fantastic country were transferred to Europe of the 19th century, and then only treasures remained: animation of indescribable beauty - extraordinary landscapes, charming characters, unpretentious and sincere dialogues, and finally, stunningly beautiful musical accompaniment.
“Howl's Moving Castle” is not just a film, it is pure aesthetic pleasure and a classic of Japanese animation. As for the book, a good fairy tale is always in trend, no matter how old you are: nine or ninety.