NABOKV-L post 0019651, Thu, 18 Mar 2010 11:32:19 -0400

literary intonation of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov ...

Mar 18, 2010 18:04 Moscow Time

More than 80 per cent of the films, which are being made today, are screened versions of literary works. Therefore, there's no surprise at all that the film festival, "Literature and Cinema", has become a traditional event in Russia, which usually presents an extensive programme including various films. The 16th festival, "Literature and Cinema", will open in Gatchina, which is a St. Petersburg suburb (March 19th to 25th).

This year's festival is demonstrating a large variety of forms, methods and devices to cover the literary plot. Let's take, for example, the film "Ward No. 6" by Karen Shakhnazarov, which was successfully shown at a number of film forums and gained recognition - it is a modernized screen version of the story of the Russian literature classic Anton Chekhov. The scene has been transferred to modern times. The film-meditation, "A Room and A Half, or a Sentimental Journey to the Homeland", by Andrei Khrzhanovsky is a certain fantasy, based on the memoirs of the poet Iossif Brodsky. Aspirations for free screen versions as the main tendency of modern cinema art could be only welcomed, the chairman of the festival's jury Dmitry Meskhiyev, the well-known film maker, said:

"To make a direct screen version of a literary work is not always correct, and it is risky at times," Dmitry Meskhiyev says. "Because it is impossible to transfer the literary intonation of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov and Leo Tolstoy. Literature may serve as a certain basis for films but you should never copy a book. To make a screen version of a literary work, you should invent both the action and the image".

You can do nothing but agree with a statement, made by the Chairman of the Jury about a literary intonation, which is very difficult to express on the screen. But real masters did that. And the festival offers proof: to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Anton Chekhov, the "Chekhov Motifs" programme will be shown in Gatchina. Including the film "The Lady with the Dog" by Iossif Heifets, which won a special prize in Cannes. Chekhov's intonation of grief and doom is felt actually in every shot there.

There are serious errors today in the interaction of literature and cinema today, the Chairman of the Festival's Jury Dmitry Meskhiyev says. Though quite a number of modern works may present great interest for the cinema art, screen versions of modern literary works appear very seldom.

Catherine Deneuve, the Guest of Honour of the Russian Festival "Literature and Cinema", watch the films together with the audience and the jury.

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