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May 31, 2013

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Mike O'Brien

Loved the book, and this article gave me some things to chew on.

When I heard rumours of a film adaptation of Blood Meridian, I wondered how this novel could possibly be turned into a faithful cinematic adaptation because of the obscene violence running throughout.

But now I think the main challenge (or at least main artistic challenge, as the political/marketing challenge of retaining the violent content may still be the greatest hurdle) is to resist the pull of the cinematic medium towards adopting perspectives, tracing arcs, shading meaning and personal import into events.

I felt that the film version of "The Road" failed to capture the desolate feel and register of the book because of its use of (consoling) flashbacks, undermining the desolating sense that the pre-disaster world was irretrievably lost. The main character's loss of the memory of his wife is as important the the theme of loss as her death was. It wasn't cannibalism or child murder that had to be tweaked for the film, but unrelenting narrative sparseness and emptiness.

Interviews with McCarthy show that he is quite hands-off about movie adaptations because he believes they are essentially different animals than books. This post makes me think that his keen sense of the register, the moral and experiential ontology of a story quite likely shapes his ideas about the non-translatability of an authored world from one medium to another.

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