Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Norwegian Grief

Haruki Murakami  is a well known Japanese writer who has fantastic support from fans in Japan and also internationally. Norwegian Wood is one of his most successful novel written in 1987 that made him famous. Now, a very talented Vietnamese-French movie director, Tran Anh Hung, after 4 years of begging, was able to convince Murakami to allow his book to be made into a movie. Tran Anh Hung debuted his career with "The Scent of Green Papaya," went on to make "The Vertical Ray of the Sun" and he was the winner of a Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1995 for Cyclo. I beg to differ here because I really do not like Cyclo too much. Nonetheless, I blogged a clip of that movie here. Beginning the project in July 2008, Tran Anh Hung finished Norwegian Wood very recently.

The film, shot in Tokyo and at some stunning Japanese countryside, was first screened at the Venice Film Festival in September of 2010, but did not go for general release in Japan until December 11, 2010. This year, the much-anticipated film has been shown in the Netherlands, Vietnam and the Czech Republic. It was screened at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in France on March 9 (which is today) before general release in the UK on Friday, March 11, in Sweden on March 18 and in Singapore in April. Germany will have to wait until July to see this title.

The fanfare at Deauville tickled my curiosity so I took a peek at the movie to see what the scoop is all about. One of the conditions Murakami demanded for his OK was that the movie must follow the book closely. Now, I know that's easier said than done... So I watched the movie...  to see whether the movie director was able to remain faithful to the book. I was impressed with a scene in Norwegian Wood and want to share it with Murakami and Tran Anh Hung's fans worldwide.

I think that the motion picture version wins big in terms of imparting to the viewers the immense grief of the young man mourning the loss of the girl he loves deeply. The words in the book appear lame and can ill compete with the powerful image and sound of the motion picture. By watching this clip, you may be able to imagine in some way the extent of human grief upon the finality of the loss of a loved one. If I were Murakami, after watching this scene, I would rewrite that portion of my book.

If you have the time, read the book and go see the movie.
Norwegian Wood

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