Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Come back to me!" or How it's a Brit-summer for me

Maybe it's because I studied at a British private school at home, but I do believe that the British do it differently... and by differently of course I mean better. Now to isolate what I mean by "it"... well, that would take up too much precious time. So let's leave it in ambiguity.

Back to my point: it seems as though (inadvertently of course!) I have been ensnared by stories set in or about Britain and I have to say, there is something alluring about that culture with its love affair with, well... impossible and restrained love affairs. That and a love for language and its power that I seldom encounter in American writers who go more for laconic, economic fiction/films. But enough of my wild generalizations, reviews of sort follow:

Atonement (film + book)
Yes. I had to go read McEwan's novel just to finally see for myself how McEwan's fiction created Briony Tallis (a character I fell in love with via Ms. Ronan, Ms. Garai and Ms. Redgrave - see here for my initial reaction to Wright's film). Needless to say it surpasses Wright's film (which I looove - I'm a sucker for ill-fated romantic affairs) and at times I just wanted to linger on McEwan's passages - even if I could have used less Dunkirk and more steamy library sequences.

The Remains of the Day (book + there's a film?! I had no idea... Netflixin' it now)
Ishiguro's prose; so straightforward yet so charged with insight and a level of subversive social commentary that is brought home (in all its irony!) by the unassuming narrating voice that delivers it. Oddly how as I'm writing this I realize that it makes a nice pairing with Altman's film - what with both dealing with English 'serving-class' and the (dis)advantage that that position comes with when it clashes with the personal and the social.

Gosford Park
Now, I know Altman is no Brit but Fellowes seems to have brought his Brit-cred to the screenplay (based on Altman's idea). All I need to say is: Maggie Smith! Actually, I'll just add Helen Mirren, Ryan Phillippe, Clive Owen... and oh, who am I kidding? Is this not the best assembled cast ever?! Good thing the material matches and surpasses it, if that is at all possible.

Match Point
I am very excited about Vicky Christina Barcelona even if I'm not a big fan of the title, but have found it very annoying how everyone keeps saying that it's Allen back in his A-game and see how journos everywhere have just taken Match Point as a hitch. If I ever find myself having random hitches in my career that match this steamy (and killer!) thriller, I'll count myself blessed.

The Line of Beauty (book + awaiting the Miniseries from Netflix while I finish the book...)
Now, I'm still working on Hollinghurst's novel but so far it's been a wonderful read: where else does one read steamy sex scenes involving English curly-haired boys as well as passages that linger on architectural beauty and Henry James? Exactly. Also, just like Altman and Ishiguro, Hollinghurst could easily be paired with Allen's film - social escalation, Upper English class setting... though let's hope there's no shooting Scarlett in this one.

Now, what English set or inspired novel/film should I tackle next...?

1 comment:

FDot said...

I would look into Evelyn Waugh next. There are a number of movie/book sets you could get into. Brideshead Revisited, Vile Bodies(book)/Bright Young Things(movie), and my personal favorite....The Loved One.