Inspired, but ignorant

I had planned to write today’s post on a completely different topic, but yesterday I took a break from reading to watch a movie, and it’s still on my mind. Recently, I looked at my Netflix queue and saw it had grown to almost 300 movies. If you knew how infrequently I sit down to watch a movie you’d know how totally ridiculous that number is.

So, I went through the list deleting many I no longer had an interest in seeing. I came to one I didn’t recognize the name of at all. When the little info bubble popped up—an immigrant son has a conflict with his father—I realized I must have added it back when I was still doing research on the novel I’ve now finished. Although I no longer needed it for research, I decided to move it up in the queue.

I didn’t note the movie’s category. Because I saw it starred Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar fame) and thought I had a vague memory of the trailer, I assumed this movie was more a comedy. I don’t know what trailer I thought I remembered, but it wasn’t for The Namesake. Yes, that one, the film adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel. Her Pulitzer Prize winning novel. The one I’d never heard of before this. Pathetic, aren’t I?

Although there are some humorous moments, The Namesake is far from a comedy. It’s a beautiful drama. Beautifully acted, beautifully filmed, beautifully scripted. I cried. More than once. I loved it. Absolutely. I want a copy.

When the movie was over, I went to Amazon to look up the book. I read some sample pages, and though it’s written in present tense, (not my fave) I will read the book. But more importantly, I want to write a book that could be adapted into such a movie. I want to touch someone’s heart that way. Not necessarily to make them cry, but to make them feel they’ve experienced something special by reading it.

Have you seen the movie or read the book?

By the way: I’d like to note that my last post, which was really only a photo of a painting and not a post at all, received as many page hits and comments as most of my real posts. Hmmm, I’m wondering if I should read something into that.

30 thoughts on “Inspired, but ignorant

  1. I really enjoyed the movie a few years back. I like long stories that immerse me in another culture through interesting people. Our local theater plays good art-sy independent and foreign films.

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    1. I enjoy mostly indie movies, Paul, and I watch some foreign ones, but it’s been awhile since I watched one with subtitles. I don’t think this movie was long though. At least it didn’t feel like it. My mind didn’t wander a bit.

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      1. I mean long in a good way — able to convey a complex multi-layed story, and give many characters some depth — not just the protagonist and love interest as in most films. You could not have conveyed so rich a tale in 90 minutes; Namesake was 122 minutes.
        Also, most of the foreign films I see tell a story that takes place over a much longer period of time than a Hollywood movie: days, weeks, even years — allowing for a much broader look at the culture — while the standard screenwriting ideal is almost a real-time 90 tight minutes, compressing all the drama into a film that is almost all-climax.

        Which isn’t to make a value judgement. I like 90-minute all-action movies. I also like 2-hour + lingering looks at new-to-me cultures.

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        1. I agree with you on the “lingering looks at new-to-me cultures”. I hadn’t thought much about the differences in foreign and Hollywood films. I’m sure you look at films from a different perspective since you’ve studied screenwriting.

          I’ve also enjoyed many indie films that are short span glimpses of life, like The Good Girl, Wendy and Lucy, or Rachel Getting Married. One of my longtime favorite indie movies is The Apostle. Have you seen it?

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  2. I think the comments from the last post were inspired by the (fear?) that you’d “lost your voice” … too many people don’t want to lose you!

    I’ve read that book! But I did not know it was a movie … I will add it to my Netflix list.

    b.

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      1. Honestly? I can’t remember, and I haven’t seen the movie. I do recall that I liked it. I remember being struck with its novelyt; it was the first of the modern type novels that I read that made people from “other” places seem real. Like the Kite Runner later did w/Afghanistan, like Slum Dog Millionaire.

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        1. I never read the book that was adapted for Slumdog Millionaire, but I loved the movie, which I actually saw on opening weekend. And I did both read the Kite Runner and see the movie … years after their releases though.

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  3. I read this book in 2004 and liked it. Seems like there was a passage I really liked about naming, but I can’t find it now. I haven’t seen the movie. I love movies but can’t even remember the last one I watched. Yes, I can. The new Sex and the City–on the airplane home on Sunday.

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    1. If I can get this danged chapter squared away, I hope to get a copy of that book and start reading this weekend.

      Did you watch that movie by choice or was your head trapped in a Clockwork Orange deprogramming device? Sorry, not a fan of Sex and the City. (Oops, I’ve probably just offended most of my readers.)

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  4. I’ve both read the book (long back, more than three years I guess, and I’ve forgotten the writing!) and seen the movie (very touching. Tabu, the mother, acted so well.)

    And now that you remind me of it, I will get the book from the library. Thanks for the share! 🙂

    -BrownEyed

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