The folks at The School of Life have made a charming and deeply insightful short film about how Dickens "set out to educate via entertaining," and how he managed "to make goodness attractive." (I think they're a bit hard on him as a father -- for all his failings, I don't think his children tended to consider him "detached" -- but otherwise I believe their account of his life is accurate.) It can be viewed here at Seeker.com.
This time, it's Harvey Weinstein who's teaming up with the BBC to make a television adaptation of the novel (as a follow-up to their recent War and Peace adaptation). After all the rumors of various adaptations in the past few years, could this finally happen for real? I have to say, having a name as big as Weinstein's involved sounds promising!
Because there's another one in the works. (It must be a day ending in "y.") At least it has a very nice pedigree, with Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher, Moneyball, Capote) directing, and the screenplay being written by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard (Anna Karenina, Parade's End, Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead).
Meanwhile, there's been no word at all of the two adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities that are supposed to be in development. Harumph.
Fitoor, the new Bollywood update of Great Expectations, opened today in limited release. I did not expect it to be playing near here -- even so close to the big city, we don't always get the limited-release movies. But this time, we did! So I caught a screening this afternoon.
This was my first Bollywood movie, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. If Fitoor is any indication, they're heavy on gorgeous scenery and costumes, songs and montages, slow-mo, closeups, and long, soulful gazes. The movie is truly beautiful to look at. And the actors, led by Aditya Roy Kapur, Katrina Kaif, and Tabu, all gave good performances. (I've seen some criticism of Kaif's performance online; again, I don't know much about the Bollywood ideal, but I thought she was fine.)
Also, I appreciated the scenes in which the film offered a small, playful tribute to Dickens by having its lead characters quote A Tale of Two Cities to each other!
As for the story, it follows the general trajectory of Dickens's story, but there are some significant changes. Pip, known here as Noor, is now an artist -- something I think they carried over from the Ethan Hawke-Gwyneth Paltrow film, though I never saw that one. Many of the characters have had their rough edges smoothed off: Noor is less snotty; Estella's character, known here as Firdaus, is less icy; Noor's sister is kinder; Begum, the Miss Havisham character, is still rich and eccentric, but she doesn't actually start decaying until Firdaus has grown up and left home. On the other hand, Herbert, or Arif, is much snarkier.