An Idiot's Tale

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An Idiot's Tale

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My latest film review, posted in Mirrorfect on 24th March 2014, was on Adaptation (2002). To avoid SEO clashes, I couldn’t put up the entire article here. To read the whole one would have to go to the magazine’s main site. When a published work, specially one that’s been widely read, is adapted for a different media, the creators shoulder an additional challenge. There is a ready audience waiting with expectations of fidelity. And unsheathed daggers for failed promises. As in the case of Bhansali dabbling with Saratchandra Chattopadhyay or Rituparna Ghosh re-modelling Rabindranath Tagore, the brickbats are more consistent than bouquets. Which audience is empathic or patient or even curious about the adapter’s plight?

Here’s an excerpt from the review, Adaptation (2002): Creativity Negotiating Entertainment:

Charles Stuart Kaufman appears a shy, nerdish, self-effacing man who doesn't look at the camera during interviews. His gaze is always fixed obliquely to a side or on the floor. But when you consider this is the brain that wrote Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you take a closer look.

Meryl Streep had said of Kaufman's screenplay for Adaptation (2002), "It was the best script I've ever read, that's why I wanted to do the project." In 2009 the interviewer in BAFTA Life in Pictures reminded Streep how she had once described Adaptation as 'the most ambitious script [she'd] ever read...was at the time.'

Streep won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Susan Orlean, the author whose The Orchid Thief the script is based on. In her acceptance speech she apologised to Orlean " know, for the second half." Orlean, during her Texas Book Fest appearance recalled how the producers had wined and dined her before handing her the 'adapted' script, and how, even when she gave her consent, after seeing the film's rough cut, she requested that it never be released in her home state Ohio, because her "parents are not going to get the irony here."

Kaufman won the BAFTA Award for the best adapted screenplay for Adaptation, and was nominated for the Academy Awards in the same category. To call it an 'adaptation' is the fundamental irony here, ‘loosely based on’ or ‘inspired by’ would have been more appropriate except that the awards don't have such a classification, and to not recognise such an intriguing and original output would have been a shame.

I give so many trivia about this obscure movie because, as Adaptation itself depicts, the movie business is one big cliché. … READ MORE

The trailer of Adaptation can be found here (I accept no responsibility for the content of external sites, nor claim any ownership over them.) 




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