The Plaza is teaming up with local libraries to bring you The Cineaste: From Book to Screen. First, pick up the book at your local library. Then after reading, you’ll have a chance to watch the film adaptation followed by a discussion about the differences between the two and the process of adapting a novel into a screenplay. Discussions will be co-facilitated by faculty and alumni from the St. Joseph’s College film studies program and librarians from participating local libraries.
Inquire at the Patchogue-Medford Library, Brookhaven Free Library, or South Country Library about how you can get involved in their participating programs. If you aren’t affiliated with one of the libraries, you can still get involved by reading the book and participating in our post-screening discussion. Book clubs are a great way to interact with friends and family while having an engaging discussion about literature. Audiobooks are also a great way to get involved if you’re looking to fit in a good read on a busy schedule.
Mystic River (R) This Dilys award winning novel revolves around the lives of Dave, Sean, and Jimmy, three boys growing up together in Boston. After a tragic event involving the trio, the film fast forwards 25 years when the adult men are living their separate lives. Another tragedy strikes when Jimmy’s daughter is found murdered in a local park. Sean, now a homicide detective, is brought in to investigate the case, and the three men become wrapped up in a thriller mystery that was transformed into an Academy Award winning film in 2003. Clint Eastwood’s take on the novel stars Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn, and Tim Robbins as the three best friends. Penn and Robbins took home awards for best actor and supporting actor; the film was nominated for a total of six awards.
Book Written by Dennis Lehane
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Julieta (R) Protagonist Julieta lives in Madrid and is about to move in with her boyfriend when she learns some crucial information concerning the whereabouts of her estranged daughter. This chance encounter with her daughter’s friend leads Julieta into a series of flashbacks as she recounts their life leading up to her daughter Anita’s departure. Julieta’s tragic life is recounted for the viewer as she starts keeping a journal that she uses to track the events that led up to her separation from Anita. Pedro Almodóvar is one of the most well-known and celebrated Spanish directors of current cinema. His international success has included several award winning films such as All About My Mother and Talk to Her, both of which received Academy Awards. The film’s plot is based on a series of three short stories by Alice Munro, all featured in her story collection Runaway.
Book Written by Alice Munro
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao
Drive (R) James Sallis’s novel stars a man who goes by no name who states, “I drive. That’s what I do. All I do.” The reader follows this nameless protagonist through the underbelly of Los Angeles as a stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night. When a heist goes wrong, the driver must bulk up on his survival skills. The 2011 film stars Ryan Gosling as the driver and received a standing ovation at the Cannes film festival. Other members of the all-star cast include Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Oscar Isaac. The neo-noir drama takes on the challenge of a non-linear narrative, and, according to critics, the adaptation has been widely praised. The film was nominated for several BAFTA and Academy Awards.
Book Written by James Sallis
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks
The Fault In Our Stars (PG-13) John Green’s 2012 novel is his sixth in a long line of critically acclaimed teen books. Sixteen year old Hazel Grace is suffering from an aggressive cancer and being forced by her parents to attend a support group for kids her age. There she meets seventeen year old Augustus who has lost a leg due to osteosarcoma. They start to bond based on their love of literature, which leads them on a journey to the other side of the world to seek out a mysterious author. The book takes on the fears and emotions associated with cancer and brings in humor and a dose of reality that makes the novel all the more gripping. The 2014 film adaptation stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Augustus. The film was a young adult hit, winning several awards at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and the Young Hollywood Awards.
Book Written by John Green
Directed by Josh Boone
Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Lotte Verbeek
Snowpiercer (R) Originally a French graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, this story takes place after an apocalyptic environmental tragedy in which humans are resigned to occupying a 1,001 car long train. The people on the train are divided by class, and protagonist Curtis decides to lead a mutiny on the train, moving his people from the squalid conditions at the back to the luxury cars closer to the front. Stuck in a new ice age, the characters struggle to regain equality while also wondering about what life is like outside of the train that they are stuck riding in for all eternity. Director Bong Joon-ho is famous for creating several South Korean films. The film stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, and Octavia Spencer.
Book Written by Jacques Lob, Jean-Marc Rochette, Benjamin Legrand
Directed by Bong Joon Ho
Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer
The Social Network (R) Written in 2009, The Accidental Billionaires follows the story of Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, and others involved in creating Facebook, the breakout social media platform. Beginning a few weeks before the launch of the website, the book traces the controversy surrounding the creators as they struggle for power. The novel is written narratively, and author Ben Mezrich maintains that the book is a work of non-fiction that he wrote through conversations and court documents. The book was even left without a conclusion because the court proceedings were still going on while it was published. The novel was adapted into the Academy Award winning film THE SOCIAL NETWORK starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. Although the real founders of Facebook have called it a dramatization of history, director David Fincher’s docudrama was heralded by critics and was even selected as one of the best films of 2010 by Roger Ebert.
Book Written by Ben Mezrich
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
True Grit (R) This 1968 novel originally started out as a serial series in the Saturday Evening Post. The novel is narrated by Mattie Ross, an elderly woman telling a story about her life when she was fourteen years old. After the murder of her father, a young Mattie works to avenge his death by enlisting the help of a Texas Ranger and a friend nicknamed Rooster. Together they go after the outlaw drifter Tom Chaney, who is responsible for the murder. Along the way the three characters are swept up into an unlikely friendship. The three are brought together for very different reasons, as each person desires their own personal revenge. The novel has been adapted into several film and TV adaptations, with one of them starring John Wayne as Rooster. In 2010 the Coen Brothers produced their own adaptation of the novel, which was later nominated for ten academy awards. The film stars Jeff Bridges as Rooster and Matt Damon as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. The film follows the same crew, the “grit” of each protagonist being tested in various trials and tribulations.
Book Written by Charles Portis
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin
Neruda (R) Having been heralded by Gabriel García Márquez as “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language” Pablo Neruda has made an immeasurable impact on literature through his poetry. Born Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, he took his pen name in homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and later became a diplomat in addition to his career in poetry. Neruda wrote surrealist poems, historical poems, and manifestos, often using green ink as his own symbol for hope and desire in his work. During his life Neruda faced exile and conflict due to his connections to the communist party in Chile. All the while he wrote poems, amassing hundreds of poems and countless volumes of work later translated into English. The 2016 film Neruda focuses on the political controversy that surfaced after Neruda made a speech against the anti-communist government of Chile in 1948. There was a large manhunt for his arrest after the speech, and he and his wife had to go into hiding, eventually leading to his exile. The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes film festival and also ran at the Toronto and New York film festivals. Since the film is not based on a novel, the book clubs will instead read The Essential Neruda, a collection of poems, and an 8-page biography from The Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century.
Directed by Pablo Larraín
Starring Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán
V for Vendetta (R) Set in a dystopian version of England, this 1980s British graphic novel offers a post-apocalyptic take on society. England has been overthrown by a fascist party and transformed into a police state. Alan Moore’s signature style shrouds the panels of the novel in beautiful yet darkened illustrations of a society trying to rebel. The novel opens as young Evey Hammond is saved from an assault by a masked man named V. His iconic Guy Fawkes mask becomes the face of a revolution, as he partakes in anarchist acts to try to overthrow the fascist government. Evey becomes involved in his desire to break free of the constraints of their situation, and she too becomes involved in a resistance movement while also trying to understand who V really is. All the while, various police detectives and government officials become wrapped up in understanding who V really is, and more importantly how to stop him before he commits more terrorist acts against them. The 2005 live action film stars Natalie Portman as Evey, and the dystopian thriller has been heralded for giving the Guy Fawkes mask its status as a pop-culture icon for use in protests against oppressive regimes around the world.
Book Written by Alan D. Moore
Directed by James McTeigue
Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea
Persepolis (NR) This uniquely styled graphic novel traces the biographical history of its author, Marjane Satrapi as she depicts her progression from childhood to becoming an adult. Satrapi grew up at a pivotal point in Iranian history, spending her adolescence in the depths of the Islamic revolution. Told from her perspective, she moves back and forth between Iran and Iraq, facing societal clashes, losing loved ones to the revolution, and being consistently separated from her family both physically and in shared ideologies. The non-fiction graphic novel was ranked by Newsweek as the fifth on its list of the best non-fiction books of the last decade. PERSEPOLIS was adapted into a film in 2007, following the same artistic style as the graphic novel, but with some color added. A team of twenty animators were given the task of transforming Satrapi's graphic novel into a moving animation, a project that emphasized traditional animation techniques as well as the capabilities of only using two solid colors (black and white) to achieve depth. In 2007, the film was a co-winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes and nominated for an Oscar.
Book Written by Marjane Satrapi
Directed by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
The Hours (PG-13) Three women of various generations all have their lives intertwined through their attachment to the VIrginia Woolf Novel, Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf herself is written into the novel as she struggles with her personal mental illness in the 1920s. Later on, in the years 1949 and 2001, we meet similar women who experience situations that mirror the character of Clarissa Dalloway in the Woolf novel. Through a stream of consciousness narrative similar to Mrs. Dalloway author MIchael Cunningham presents a day in the life of each of these characters as they plan events, deal with sorrow, and experience the subtle beauty of everyday life. The novel employs many of the narrative techniques of Woolf’s work, which allows the reader to be sucked into each time period that the women inhabit. The 2002 film adaptation directed by Stephen Daldry follows the same three characters, all of whom are shown for a day of their respective lives. Framed in the beginning and the end of the film with snippets of Virginia Woolf’s life, Daldry has crafted an emotional adaptation of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize winning novel. The movie has been heralded for its faithfulness to the novel, with Daldry working to implement many of the narration techniques that Cunningham used and adapting them for the screen. The film was nominated for 9 Oscars, with Julianne Moore winning the award for Best Actress.
Book Written by Michael Cunningham
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman
The Color Purple (PG-13) Since winning the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1983, THE COLOR PURPLEhas remained an iconic epistolary novel with many further adaptations. The novel traces the life of Celie, an African-American woman growing up in rural Georgia. She survives incredible amounts of abuse and bigotry throughout her struggle to gain equality in the first half of the twentieth century. As the novel progresses Celie is separated from her sister Nettie, who tries to escape the life of submission that the girls seem doomed to. Celie stays behind, and her story branches off to include the lives that she cares for and is affected by. Throughout the novel Celie grapples with her own faith in God as she deals with unspeakable tragedies and abuses. Themes of racism are contrasted with the underlying concept of sisterhood that holds the characters in the novel together. The book was later adapted into an Oscar Nominated film starring Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and including Oprah Winfrey’s film debut as Sofia. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, the film was widely critically acclaimed for its powerful message and brave story.
Book Written by Alice Walker
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery Rae, Dawn Chong,
Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey
Slumdog Millionaire (R) The protagonist of the book Q&A is Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young waiter who, upon winning a local game show, becomes the biggest quiz show winner in Indian history. Higher ups in the country immediately assume he cheated and send him to jail with no evidential information. Ram spends the book telling his lawyer stories about his life that explain how each question was answered correctly. The book was widely praised and loosely adapted into the 2008 film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, in which the character Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) wins a quiz show and is brought up on the same accusations. Throughout the film Jamal’s stories are told as the viewer is taken on a visual journey through flashbacks. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE won seven Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Book Written by Vikas Swarup
Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor
The Girl on the Train (R) Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. Based on Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel.
Book Written by Paula Hawkins
Directed by Tate Taylor
Starring Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett