Sunday, February 10, 2013

David Mitchell on the Cloud Atlas Adaptation

He sits down with the Guardian.

From the piece...

"On the page ... his storylines follow one another in chronological order, whereas in the movie they are tossed and tangled like noodles, the plan being that our interest should not linger, let alone relax, in any zone of history for too long."

What was limpid has become a knotty matrix of unremitting virtuosity, as impressive and alienating as watching someone showing off for two hours 50 minutes, hoping against disappointed hope that they'll pause for breath. "In my novels there are moments of free parking, where the pace drops," he says, when I mention my reservations. "Now, with the film what they've done is probably a function of how much they've had to squeeze the book down; how much space is there for free parking in a film like that? It's six films, and every three seconds has to really justify its place."

But the result for many critics is a film that, unlike the novel, resists immersion and emotional engagement. How can you bear that? "They don't force you to sign the option papers with a gun to your head. I wanted them to disassemble it and reassemble it like Lego, according to artistic vision. If the film doesn't work, it doesn't hurt the book. If it does work, it helps the book."

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