The first movie I watched in 2017 is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. This time around, I noticed that it was based on a book (1954 French crime novel by Boileau & Narcejac). Just reinforced a fact that’s so interesting, and mind-bloggling for me, that a major portion of movies are adapted from books and printed sources. Not that I mind at all.
Here are some more for 2017 and beyond, on big and small screens. Some have set dates of release, some still in development. No harm reading ahead (as if you need more to stack higher that TBR pile), or rereading.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Grumpy old man, Swedish style. Through Ove, writer Backman shows us not so much about getting old but becoming human. Never too late to change. A thoughtful and poignant story as we follow grumpy Ove, the strict enforcer of by-laws for his condo association. Backman is clever in leading us to discover slowly why Ove behaves as he does. For me as a reader, it’s a lesson on empathy and understanding. The film adaptation is Sweden’s official entry to the coming Oscars, now one of nine remaining in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Nominations announcement on Jan. 24, 2017. (Update: A Man Called Ove is now an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.)
Beauty and the Beast
Yes, from a book. La Belle et la Bête is the fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in 1740. Classics, by definition, appeal despite the passage of time, in this case, a few centuries. This newest adaptation, which I highly anticipate, has a cast that I’m eager to see in a musical: Dan Stevens (Beast), Emma Watson (Belle), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Kevin Klein (Maurice)… Can they sing?To be released in March, 2017.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal, 2006) to direct Emma Thompson playing the role of Judge Fiona Maye who has to rule on a case in which a 17 year-old leukaemia patient refuses potentially life-saving blood transfusion as it’s against his religious belief. And as life would have it, Maye has her own marital issues to deal with at this trying point of her life. McEwan’s 2014 novel is on my TBR pile, and I look forward to Thompson’s major role in years. Film now in development.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Atwood’s renowned story of a dystopia ruled by theocratic dictatorship will be adapted into a 10 episodes TV series. Interesting concept from book to longer TV programming, which would definitely be quite different from its previous adaptation in 1990, a 109 min. movie with screenplay by Harold Pinter and cast of Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Elizabeth McGovern, Robert Duvall. This time, a new generation of actors and a very different socio-political milieu. Will it be even more relevant?
Lion by Saroo Brierley (Memoir originally titled A Long Way Home)
Now showing in theatres. Never mind Slumdog Millionaire, this is for real and utterly moving, with the same Dev Patel. At age 5, Saroo was lost in a Calcutter train station almost a thousand miles from his home village. Alone and drifting on the streets, he was picked up and sent to an orphanage where an Australian couple later adopted him. Twenty-five years in Tasmania had not diminished his desire to see his mother’s face again. Thanks to Google Earth, he finally found his way home. I’ve just seen the film and is now reading the book. A must-see.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction 2015, Hannah’s WWII novel lends itself to ready cinematic rendition. Game of Thrones director Michelle MacLaren to helm the project. MacLaren has been noted to be able to tell stories that are ‘epic and intimate’. So this may just fit her really well. Two sisters’ coming of age experience during the Nazi occupation in France, with Ann Peacock (Narnia, 2005, Nights in Rodanthe, 2008) writing the screenplay. The book has sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. and been published in 39 languages. The cast still to be determined. Your choice?
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
This is a worthy, true story to be made into film. Jan and Antonina Zabinski were keepers of the reputable Warsaw Zoo. During the Holocaust, their premises is the hiding place for hundreds of Jews. Antonina did the day-to-day chores of protecting them in the cages, feeding them and keeping their spirits up. The parallel and irony of human and beasts are obvious. Acclaimed nature writer Diane Ackerman drew from Antonina’s diary to write her account of a heroic rescue mission. Acclaimed New Zealand director Niki Caro (McFarland, 2015, North Country, 2005) helms. Screenplay by Angela Workerman, a scribe to note. Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl play the Zabinski couple. Trailer is out and looks good. To be released in March, 2017.