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  • Book & Film: Philip Roth’s Hollywood Track Record

    Montag, 08.04.2024 - 19:00 Uhr

Conversation group with d.a.i. teacher Scott Stelle. Most of Philip Roth's novels have been badly adapted to the screen. Roth's intellectual topics and subtle explorations of identity (the ways in which people tragicomically misrepresent and misunderstand each other) aren’t the usual dramatic material of Hollywood cinema. This quarter, we shall explore the challenges of translating literature to the big screen. While literary critics praised Roth’s novels, until recently, it seems like the novelist’s precise tone eluded film-makers. Roth's first two literary successes were adapted into films starring Richard Benjamin as the young Jewish protagonist. We begin with the second, “Portnoy's Complaint,” Roth’s bestselling 1969 novel and 1972 film adaptation, which he considered an “unmitigated disaster.” It would take three decades before another Roth adaptation made it to the movies. With its star cast, “The Human Stain” got a lot of buzz but film critics declared it mediocre and melodramatic; particularly, Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman were considered totally miscast. Yet five years later, the film “Elegy,” the adaptation of “The Dying Animal,” was praised. And finally, we end with Roth’s most critically acclaimed film adaptation: “The Indignation.” What elements of a film (screenplay, actors, sound, lighting, cinematography, director) are important for successful adaptations of literature?

8.4.: Portnoy’s Complaint (1969: film, 1972)

6.5.: The Human Stain (2000: film, 2003)

3.6.: The Dying Animal (2001: film,: Elegy, 2008)

1.7.: The Indignation (2008: film; 2016)

In English

Admission: free

Location: d.a.i. “Ann Arbor” room

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