Of Things to Come

October 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

With a new season comes the fall line up of musicians visiting my city, new shows in local theaters, the “pre-Oscar-season” of movies, and new books dropped just in time for the holidays. Here are a few upcoming cross-genre and collaborative projects that I’m looking forward to this fall.

1. Classic fairy tales. Tori Amos will score music for a theater adaptation of George MacDonald’s The Light Princess (an entirely delightful and un-average fairy tale, which can be read online here via The Gutenberg Project).

Reason for excitement: The Light Princess is one of my favorite stories! I’m hesitant that an adaptation will mess it up, yet I feel compelled to find out how it translates to the stage. I’m encouraged by Tori Amos’ latest album Night of the Hunters which respectfully reinterpreted some classical music, including her version of Mussorgsky’s “The Old Castle” from Pictures at an Exhibition below, her Bach-inspired piece, “Edge of the Moon,” or her Chopin-inspired piece “Cactus Practice.”

And Regina Spektor will score the music for an upcoming Broadway musical, Beauty, a new spin-off of Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty. Though it was originally planned for the 2011-2012 season, I haven’t heard much of it recently. I hope it’s still happening.

Reason for excitement: I love fairy tale remakes. And anyone who wrote “Samson” (below) knows the ins and outs of retelling classics well.

2. Precocious kids. This Christmas comes a film adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Saffran Foer, featuring Tom Hands and Sandra Bullock. Check the trailer here.  And Jean Pierre Jeunet, director of Amelie, picked up the film rights to Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, the story of a genius kid cartographer who travels to D.C. when his work is mistaken for that of an adult’s.

Reason for excitement: Besides enjoying both stories, I am interested in how these stories will be adapted to film. Both books rely heavily on visuals in a unique way – Extremely Loud tells a few scenes (including its poignant ending) through photos and often has one sentence per page or sentences overlapped on a page, while T.S. Spivet has on each page a map, graph, or diagram of something mentioned:

I’m curious as to how the visual medium of illustration will be translated to another visual medium of film. What makes for a unique reading experience is that the visual elements surprise, interrupt the narrative while still adding to the story, and change the way you usually interact with a book. I want those elements kept.

3. Poetic short films. In November, Professor James Franco is taking his film class to Detroit to create short films based on C.K. Williams’ poetry about decay and rejuvenation. The class’s collection will then head to indie film festivals. In other film news, Salma Hayek is partnering with several other producers to create an animated feature of short films by different directors based on the famous poetry of Kahlil Gibran. So far she’s roped in the directors of Triplets of Belleville, Persepolis, and The Secret of Kells.

Reason for excitement: I like the two poets whose work will tie these collections together thematically, and I like seeing how people given similar prompts create entirely unique art. Both these projects echo the idea behind the successful Paris, Je T’aime, a collection of short films by different directors about love in Paris.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

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