Monday, October 22, 2012

Cloud Atlas--the movie

The film Cloud Atlas comes out later this week. I can't wait to see how they managed to adapt the novel to film. David Mitchell's book (finalist for the esteemed Mann Booker prize) is a stunningly good novel, epic in its scope, and structurally fascinating. You begin with one story, get immersed in the characters and their concerns. Then the story stops right at the climax--and the next chapter starts an entirely new story, new characters, set a big jump into the future. This happens four more times. In each story, the protagonist encounters some written record of the previous protagonist's life, cut off, as is our narrative, in the middle. For most of the book, that's the only connection that we know of. There's nothing to do but sit back in wonder as we move from colonial times into a dystopian future--then back again, picking up exactly where we left off, finishing each person's story, back to the beginning.

It's an amazing book. I can't imagine how they're going to adapt it. One need only read the cast list and watch the trailer to see that much effort and money has been invested in this film version. I look forward to seeing what they create.

I'm trying to think of other examples of films that range through history and interconnected stories. Other than Mel Brooks' spoof The History of the World, I can think of two. Both are films to which I return:

Being Human (starring Robin Williams)
The Red Violin 

Can anyone think of another?

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