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The Oscars: Choosing To Read The Nominees

Jorge Sincuir

Posted on March 5, 2018 13:38

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We tend to watch films based on books but don't go back and visit the original form. Let's talk about that.

The Oscars were this weekend. Chances are you watched some of the nominees. Chances are you will rush to the theatres and catch the winners you missed. Chances are you will not pick up the books some of the films were based on. And that's a shame. We say "the book was better than the film" but we tend to use it exclusively for situations where we have already read the book and have expectations that the film will ultimately not be able to meet. How often do you do the reverse? That is to ask, how often do you watch a film then decide to read the book?

It's not your fault. Think about it: you pick up a book and it takes more than a few hours to complete. More importantly, unless you are a voracious reader, it takes more than one sitting. Perhaps a few days. During that time away from the book, you think about the characters. You wonder about the development of the story. You invest your time into the written world. Does it consume you? Perhaps not, but it does become a part of your life, at least for a bit. Eventually, you finish the book and, whether good or bad, you share with your world. Someone in Hollywood then translates the work into a screenplay and a movie is made. Assuming you enjoyed the book, you go watch the film. It will, with exceptions, not meet expectations, but that's okay. It only took at most a few hours of one day. Once the end credits run, you do not have to revisit the film the way you did with the book between chapters.

But if you watched the film first, then revisiting the story in the written form demands more of you. The reverse is a bit harder to manage. So why do it? Why should I go and read the love story between Elio and Oliver when Chalamet and Hammer do such a good job showing us? Why read of Memphis in the 40's when you already own Netflix? And Logan? Why read comics?

Because you cared enough to watch the film. Because you learned about the characters and story, so you want to know more. Very often, we leave a film with questions about plots that were not developed because of the film's time constraints. Perhaps because the screenwriter or execs did not think it important to the overall arc of the story or the budget did not allow. Guess what? The book allows it. We get to see more, feel more, know more through the pages. I am not saying that the written form is perfect; all art forms have their limitations. What I am saying is, by not reading the books as well as watching the films, you yourself are the limiting factor in what could be a complete experience. And of course, it then gives you the chance to tell your friends "the book was better."

Jorge Sincuir

Posted on March 5, 2018 13:38

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Fans get an up close and personal view of Oscar-nominated costumes at the annual FIDM exhibit.

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