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The Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is perhaps the best-known Arthurian tale, a 14th-century ode to chivalry and mortality borrowed from Welsh, Irish and English folklore. “What captivated me about this story, aside from its heavy metal craziness, is that it’s about a knight who willingly embarks on a journey to his own death,” says writer-director David Lowery, whose stylish A24 film adaptation stars Dev Patel. . as Gawain. “The ways in which both the hero and anonymous author grapple with mortality and mortal fallibility is as new and relevant today as it was when it was written more than 700 years ago.”
‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ by Anonymous
Author: William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, power, corruption and murder has been called “The Scottish Play” by superstitious actors for centuries, but it’s likely that Oscar-winning titans Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand had little to fear when they landed the part. from Lord and Lady Macbeth in this latest movie version. McDormand’s husband, Joel Coen, who wrote and directed this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy (or “tragedy,” as it was known when it was first staged in 1606), takes a hard look at the supernatural undertones of the source material and presents a stark, brutalist, black-and-white-and-white interpretation of the bard’s play.
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Author: Nella Larsen
Larsen, a Harlem Renaissance literary icon based on publishing two standout novels in her career, wrote this story of two childhood friends—Irene, who identifies as Black, and Clare, who passes for white—who reconnect as adults and find themselves getting deeply involved in each other’s lives. “when adjusting” pass, I found that the questions Nella Larsen grappled with in 1929 — questions of identity, race, sexuality, gender, and class — are just as captivating and deeply personal today,” said Rebecca Hall, who made her directorial debut with the Netflix adaptation of Larsens book “I hope my film has a fraction of the staying power of her indelible novel.”
‘Passing’ by Nella Larsen
Cyrano de Bergerac
Author: Edmond Rostand
“This felt so topical to me,” says Erica Schmidt of Cyrano de Bergerac, which she first rediscovered as a stage musical before director Joe Wright brought her new take on the story to the big screen. In Wright’s adaptation, Peter Dinklage plays the eponymous playwright and romantic (aside from the character’s iconic elongated nose) who aids his friend Christian in the pursuit of the beautiful Roxanne — though Cyrano is also in love with Roxanne. “Cyrano felt vital because of that deep, timeless, urgent desire to have everything we want—and the horrible fear underneath that we’re really not worthy of being loved at all.”
‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ by Edmond Rostand
Author: Frank Herbert
Herbert’s 1965 historical science fiction epic was largely considered unfilmable (example: David Lynch’s 1984 version). Dune However, mega fan Denis Villeneuve achieved the near-impossible with his latest film, which covers the first half of the tome. “Frank Herbert Wrote” Dune as a warning to charismatic heroes and the danger of messianic figures’, the director says about the timelessness of the book. “We can still see political powers arming religion and, conversely, religions infiltrating politics. But what makes this book even more relevant are the environmental concerns, which over time became tragically prophetic.”
‘Dune Saga’ box set with 3 books by Frank Herbert
The power of the dog
Author: Thomas Savage
Savage’s 1967 novel forms the basis for Oscar winner Jane Campion’s first feature film in 12 years. The power of the dog follows a mean and crazy farmer named Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), who makes life hell for his brother and new sister-in-law. “I couldn’t guess what was going to happen,” Campion says of the novel. “It’s not just any 1925 cowboy story about farm life; this is a lived experience, and I think that made me feel real confidence in the story. I wanted to honor Thomas Savage with this film. When I read a book like this, I don’t take the adaptation lightly. I want it to be as good as possible. I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I like to do things very thoroughly.”
The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage
The Prodigal Daughter
Author: Elena Ferrante
This book from the pseudonymous writer — whose best-selling Neapolitan novels sparked “Ferrante Fever” on both sides of the Atlantic — forms the basis for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut. Ferrante’s book tells the story of a woman (Olivia Colman) who becomes obsessed with a young mother (Dakota Johnson), offering an intimate internal look at motherhood. “A secret piece of my experience as a mother, as a lover, as a woman in the world was first spoken out loud,” says Gyllenhaal, who also wrote the script. “I thought, ‘How exciting and dangerous to create such an experience – not quietly and alone with a book – but in a room full of living, feeling people.’ “
Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter
Author: William Lindsay Gresham
Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro credits actor Ron Perlman for introducing Gresham’s dark novel, which formed the basis for the 1947 film noir of the same name. Del Toro’s version, co-written with Kim Morgan, is a second adaptation — not a remake of the earlier film. — from Gresham’s story of a con man turned carnival barker, Stan Carlisle (played in the film by Bradley Cooper), with a knack for manipulating those around him for his own gain. Toni Collette, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett play three women in Stan’s life as he plans his path to success.
William Lindsay Gresham’s Nightmare Alley
The Tender Bar
Author: JR Moehringer
George Clooney directs the adaptation of Moehringer’s memoir, from a script by Oscar winner William Monahan. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Moehringer looks back on his childhood, when he was raised by his single mother (played in the film by Lily Rabe) and her extended family—and writes fondly about finding a father figure in his literature-loving bartender— uncle, Charlie (Ben Affleck). In the coming-of-age film, Moehringer jumps back and forth in time, with Tye Sheridan and newcomer Daniel Ranieri playing the author (and actor Ron Livingston giving his ubiquitous narration).
JR Moehringer’s ‘The Tender Bar’
This story first appeared in the November 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.