Saturday, October 29, 2005

Books vs. Movies?

I was trying to think of why reading and books have had a greater effect on my life than movies. In books, the imagination is able to become the dominant engine. Without a picture to direct us how and what to think we are able to devise our own image, create our own interpretation of people, places and events. My vision of Steinbeck's California coast is different than anyone else's. My interpretation of Balzac's Paris can not be the same as yours. Our experiences shape our view of the world. Where we come from, what we've read, seen or heard all play in integral role in our interpretation of art. We simply imagine things differently. Though films give a character or story great visual and psychological appeal, they don't have the same depth as books.

I've been thinking about this because they're making Kerouac's On the Road into a movie. I want the film to be made. I want to see Walter Salles's interpretation of the iconoclastic novel, but I know it can't match the freshness, rawness and brilliance of Kerouac's seminal work. Salles would have to create an entirely new way of film-making to match Kerouac's innovative writing, to match his language and specific cadence. Even if he comes close, the movie should be entertaining if nothing else. In The Motorcycle Diaries, the film is visually stunning, but Kerouac's novel is indebted to the language and the characters. But Salles's cinematography of the American landscape should add visual context and depth to the film.

The late great poet, Robert Creeley was the first to tell me of Salles's attempt at putting On the Road on film. He was in Marfa, Texas for a conference when he found out. I had been in contact with him while I was writing my thesis and he continually e-mailed me, even when he became ill. When he passed away this spring, we all lost a genius poet and great man.


I should be finishing my book on Rousseau tomorrow and then I'll begin to write about my next book. There isn't much to write about or comment on in the Rousseau book. At least not enough that even I would want to write about.

1 comment:

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