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The Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is perhaps the best known Arthur tale, a 14th-century ode to chivalry and mortality drawn from Welsh, Irish and English folklore. “What caught me by this story, apart from its heavy-metal strangeness, is that it’s about a knight willingly embarking on a journey towards his own death,” says writer-director David Lowery, whose stylish A24 film adaptation has Dev Patel in the lead role. as Gawain. “The way both the hero and the anonymous author struggle with mortality and deadly fallibility is as fresh and relevant now as it certainly was when it was written over 700 years ago.”
‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ by Anonymous
Author: William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, power, corruption and murder has been referred to as “The Scottish Play” by superstitious actors for centuries, but it is likely that Oscar-winning titans Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand did not have much to fear as they took on the roles of Lord and Lady Macbeth in this latest film version. McDormand’s husband, Joel Coen, who wrote and directed this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy (or “tragedy” as it became known when it was first performed on stage in 1606), goes far beyond the supernatural undertones of the source material and presents a sharp, brutalist, black and white interpretation of Barden’s plays.
‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare
Author: Nella Larsen
Larsen, a literary icon from the Harlem Renaissance by virtue of having published two eye-catching novels in his career, wrote this tale of two childhood friends – Irene, who identifies as black, and Clare, who goes too white – who reconnects as adults and finds themselves becoming closely involved in each other’s lives. “In the adaptation Passed, I discovered that the issues Nella Larsen struggled with in 1929 – issues of identity, race, sexuality, gender and class – are just as compelling and deeply personal today, ”says Rebecca Hall, who made her directorial debut with Netflix. -atization of Larsen’s book. “I hope my film has a fraction of the enduring power of her indelible novel.”
‘Passing’ by Nella Larsen
Cyrano de Bergerac
Author: Edmond Rostand
“This felt so relevant to me,” says Erica Schmidt from Cyrano de Bergerac, which she first rethought as a stage musical, before director Joe Wright brought his new vision of the narrative to the big screen. In Wright’s adaptation, Peter Dinklage plays the eponymous playwright and romantic (who renounces the character’s iconic elongated nose) who helps his friend Christian’s hunt for the beautiful Roxanne – though Cyrano is also in love with Roxanne. “Cyrano felt vital to me because of the deep, timeless, urgent desire to have everything we want – and the terrible fear underneath that we are actually unworthy to be loved at all. “
‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ by Edmond Rostand
Author: Frank Herbert
Herbert’s landmark sci-fi epic from 1965 was largely considered unfilmable (for example: David Lynch’s 1984 version). Dune However, mega-fan Denis Villeneuve achieved the almost impossible with his latest film, which addresses the first half of the tome. “Wrote Frank Herbert Dune as a warning about charismatic heroes and the danger of messianic figures, ”says the director of the book’s timelessness. “We can still observe political powers arming religion and, conversely, religions infiltrating politics. But what makes this book even more relevant are the ecological concerns that became tragically prophetic over time. “
‘Dune Saga’ 3-book box set by Frank Herbert
The power of the dog
Author: Thomas Savage
Savage’s 1967 novel is the basis for Oscar winner Jane Campion’s first feature film in 12 years. The power of the dog follows an evil and sinister rancher named Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), who makes life a hell for his brother and new sister-in-law. “I could not guess what was going to happen,” Campion says of the novel. “It’s not just a 1925 cowboy story about the life of the ranch; this is a lived experience and I think because of that I felt a real confidence in the story. I would honor Thomas Savage with this film. When I read a book like this, I do not take the editing lightly. I want it as good as it can get. I do not want to say that I am a perfectionist, but I like to do things really thoroughly. “
‘The Power of the Dog’ by Thomas Savage
The prodigal daughter
Author: Elena Ferrante
This book by the pseudonymous author – whose best-selling Neapolitan novels sparked “Ferrante Fever” on both sides of the Atlantic – is the basis for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s debut as a director. Ferrante’s book tells the story of a woman (Olivia Colman) who becomes obsessed with a young mother (Dakota Johnson) and offers an intimate inner look at motherhood. “A secret piece of my experience as a mother who loves as a woman in the world was spoken out loud for the first time,” says Gyllenhaal, who also wrote the script. “I thought, ‘How exciting and dangerous to create such an experience – not quietly and alone with a book – but in a space filled with living, feeling people.’ “
‘The Lost Daughter’ by Elena Ferrante
Author: William Lindsay Gresham
Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro credits actor Ron Perlman for introducing him to Gresham’s dark novel, which was the basis of the film noir of the same name from 1947. Del Toro’s version, co-written with Kim Morgan, is another adaptation – not a remake of the previous film – of Gresham’s tale of a griffin who became a carnival barker, Stan Carlisle (portrayed in the film by Bradley Cooper), with a talent for manipulating people around him for his own gain. Toni Collette, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett play three women in Stan’s life as he plans his path to success.
‘Nightmare Alley’ by William Lindsay Gresham
Author: JR Moehringer
George Clooney directs the adaptation of Moehringer’s memoirs based on a screenplay written by Oscar winner William Monahan. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Moehringer looks back on his childhood, where he was raised by his single mother (played in the film by Lily Rabe) and her extended family – and writes lovingly about finding a father figure in his literature-loving bartender uncle, Charlie (Ben Affleck). The growing film sees Moehringer jump back and forth in time, with Tye Sheridan and newcomer Daniel Ranieri playing the author (and actor Ron Livingston delivering his ubiquitous narrative).
‘The Tender Bar’ by JR Moehringer
This story first appeared in the November 22 issue of the Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.