Saturday, December 28, 2013

Page to Screen: Recent and Upcoming Attractions

Here at the end of the holiday season, it can often be difficult to find the time (or the energy) to throw yourself into a book.  Sometimes all you really want to do is to sit in front of the TV (or computer, or tablet) and soak up the images on screen.  Luckily, there are ways you can do that without necessarily giving up on literature all together.  Here are some programs that I have recently indulged in that still keep me in tune to the great literary works.

Emma Approved

You may remember a while back that I was raving about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and could not wait for the team's new production, Emma Approved, based on Jane Austen's novel Emma.  It took awhile for this production to hit its stride (the story set-up period kind of strayed from what is in the novel), but things are coming together in a wonderful way.  The modernizing of the story is on track, the actors' portrayals are spot on, and things are getting tense in Emma's office.  Since the show is on hiatus until February (sad), now is the perfect time to start catching up.  Here is Episode 1:


Honestly, there is no fandom that has to wait as long as those of us who love Sherlock.  And it's even worse for those of us in the US as we have to wait even longer for gratification.  But the time is finally drawing nigh.  The long awaited Series 3 premiers on PBS on January 19.  You can read about my obsessive love for this show in my reviews of Series 1 & 2.  If you haven't seen the series, do yourself a favor and watch it now.  If you are like me and awaiting the 19th with bated breath, then check out this recently released mini-epsiode that will further whet your appetite:

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness

Back in 2010, I read and reviewed Wandering Stars by Sholem Aleichem as part of my summer reading.  Recently, I discovered a documentary of the author's life.  It is a great look, not just at Sholem Aleichem, but also at the rise of Yiddish literature and the breakdown of traditional shtetl life at the end of the 19th century.  It also talks a lot about Aleichem's best known character, Tevye the milkman, upon whom Fiddler on the Roof is based on.  Here is the trailer for it.  You can see the full documentary on Netflix or rent it from Youtube:

Have you watched anything lately that was based on great literature?  Feel free to share it with us.  


Hannah said...

I'm enjoying 'Emma Approved' far more now! Have you been watching 'The Autobiography of Jane Eyre' by any chance? It's a web series adaptation of 'Jane Eyre' (surprise, surprise!) and there have been about 50 episodes so far. Initially I was even more sceptical about this series than I was with 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries' because JE seems like a much harder book to modernise than 'Pride and Prejudice'. I also found the first episode of AoJE a little bit pretentious and didn't watch any more episodes of it for weeks. But I went back to it and I'm glad I did. I loved Episode Two and I've been thoroughly enjoying the series so far. I wouldn't recommend it wholeheartedly just yet because I still have my worries about how Rochester's secret will be handled in a modern day setting - but what I've seen so far has been hugely promising. And if you're looking for a web series to watch during the EA hiatus then why not give it a try? :)

I don't know if you're a fan of the fantasy or fairy tale genres but there's a new French adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale that's due out next year and I'm really looking forward to it. The trailer looks pretty incredible. You can find it on YouTube if you search for 'La Belle et la Bete 2014". There's also a new Cinderella film that's due out in 2015 (I think) that I'm really looking forward to. Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and a couple of Downton Abbey actors are starring in it and Kenneth Branagh is directing.

bookwormans said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely check out the Jane Eyre vlog. It will certainly be interesting to see how they modernize it.

I saw the trailer for "La Belle et La Bete" on your blog and it looked really intriguing. I've seen bits and pieces of the original French version. Hopefully we will get it here in the US in some form or fashion.

By the way, I wanted to thank you for posting about the musical "Elisabeth" awhile back. I had never heard of it before, but I found it on Youtube and have watched it several times since. I really enjoyed it!

Hannah said...

Wow! Thanks for telling me that! And you watched it "several times"? Brilliant! I love 'Elisabeth' so much and it deserves to be so much more well-known than it is. I'm not going to lie, this has made my day :D

bookwormans said...

I've been trying to get my friends to watch "Elisabeth" as well...but Americans have a strange aversion to films with subtitles. I'm definitely still trying.

And thank you, thank you for telling me about "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre"! I blazed through it over the last few days and am loving it. It's so funny...I know that story forwards and backwards, and yet I still find myself a giddy mess at certain parts. I almost died watching the "kidnapping" episode.

Hannah said...

That problem with subtitled films definitely exists in the UK as well sadly. I remember trying to persuade someone to watch 'Amelie' once when I was at university and they were like "You seriously expect me to READ a film?" So then I started saying "But it's a great film! Great films aren't limited to the English-speaking world! You'll forget you're reading the subtitles after a few minutes!" But they wouldn't budge. But thankfully most of my own friends *will* happily watch subtitled films.

This is going to turn into a really long comment but to be honest I wasn't really sure whether to recommend AoJE to you or not because I have this nagging fear that it's all going to go wrong once they get onto Rochester's secret. In the book Rochester couldn't obtain a divorce from Bertha and he kept her in his attic because Victorian psychiatric institutions were terrible and her family didn't want her back. He did the best he could for under the circumstances. But in our time there would be nothing to stop Rochester from getting a divorce and psychiatric institutions are far better now. I'm worried that his secret is going to turn me against him in this version. That's why I'm hoping that his secret in AoJE will have nothing to do with his wife. But I still thought I'd recommend it to you just because I've loved what I've seen of the web series so far that much and I have the hope that it won't be spoiled. I'm glad I did now! And you've hit onto one of the many reasons why I loved The LBD as much as I did. The writers were able to take this story that I know like the back of my hand and still make me feel that I was coming to the story for the very first time.

bookwormans said...

I can definitely see the potential pitfalls of Mr. Rochester's secret, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Hopefully they will find a way to smoothly adapt it to the modern setting. Fingers crossed!