Monday, November 24, 2014

Far From the Madding Crowd and Suite Francaise Trailers

Greetings from your long lost fellow blogger!

      It has truly been a long time, but I'm too inspired by upcoming films to keep myself from sharing. I've become an avid film lover/analyst of every genre, but literary adaptations and period dramas remain closest to my heart. I'm always scouring the internet for news of them. You can imagine, then, how excited I was when I discovered that Far From the Madding Crowd and Suite Francaise would both be released in 2015 in association with BBC films. 
     I can't quite decide which one I look forward to most! Of course, Thomas Hardy has wormed his way into my heart and nearly become my favorite author these past few years, and Far From the Madding Crowd grows on me more each time I read it. This newest version--directed by Thomas Vinterberg, starring Carey Mulligan, and featuring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, and Juno Temple--is the first in sixteen years. As many of you may know, the story is that of the strong-willed but vain Bathsheba Everdene whose beauty and pride trap her in a sort of love square (?) complete with a playboy soldier, obsessed old bachelor, and ruined shepherd. If I can find the time and the resolve, I hope to review the novel soon for those who aren't familiar with it.
      It's dangerous to make assumptions based on a two-minute trailer, but so far one things really stands out to me about this adaptation. It appears as though Vinterberg has worked hard to capture the pastoral elements of Hardy's novel, first by emphasizing the natural scenery surrounding the characters and secondly by setting the trailer against the country tune sung by Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan does indeed sing this herself, and the song is called "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme"). If my analysis is correct, then this might prove to be a very good adaptation. Far From the Madding Crowd is defined just as much by the settings as the characters themselves. Hardy's description of weather, topography, and the sky serves as a means through which the reader gains more insight into the inner turmoil of the characters as well as events to come.
    Suite Francaise, on the other hand, is being adapted to the screen for the first time in history. Written by a holocaust victim during the Nazi occupation of France, the novel captures the relationship of French civilians to the German officers boarding in their homes. At the heart of the plot is the complex romance that develops between Lucile Angellier and "her" officer, Bruno von Falk. Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts (yes, he's also in Far From the Madding Crowd) will take on those lead roles in the film directed by Saul Dibb, whose last movie was The Duchess.
This too looks like a visual treat, but the jury's still out as to whether Dibb will be able to capture the emotional complexity of the characters. The novel captured more thoughts than words, which is always hard to translate into a film. If Williams and Schoenaerts can deliver and the script succeeds in making their characters multidimensional, Suite Francaise has the potential to be a powerful movie. That's a tall order though. I'm also interested to see if other story lines are fully developed and whether Kristen Scott Thomas taps into the full depth of her role.

Other films coming soon or in the works include Madame Bovary starring Mia Wasikowska and an adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' WWI masterpiece, Birdsong. Nicholas Hoult is supposedly set to star in that, reportedly beating out Eddie Redmayne who starred in the Masterpiece Classic adaptation of the same novel. Development of the film has been rather quiet, however. Faulks seems reluctant to give his full support, so this one might take a while. Fall 2015 will also bring a new adaptation of Frankenstein starring James Mcavoy.

Glad to be back! Hope you enjoy!


1 comment:

  1. Welcome back, Ari! It's great to see you posting again :D hope things have been well. (I haven't read Madding Crowd or heard of Suite Francais so can't really comment on them)