Archive for March, 2009

The Beach (book and film)

Posted in book to film on March 10, 2009 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

 

The Beach
(1996) novel by Alex Garland – 5stars
(2000) film by Danny Boyle – 2stars

two in one ulit, even though medyo 9 years apart ang pag-experience sa kanilang dalawa. keri pa rin.

simply put, i love the book. this could have very well been the first offerings of travel fiction depicting my generation as bida, and i love it. i love what the film is saying about the creation of different kinds of travelers, kung tourist ka o traveler ek, plus the discourse about the noble savage or the semblance of a “civil society” eklavu present in other favorites like LORD OF THE FLIES. tama yung isang book review, this is a lord of the flies for generation x, which is my generation, kaya siguro dig ko siya.

like the protagonist, i am also a traveler although hindi ako masyadong backpack mentality. more like budget traveling siguro, kaya nag-appeal sa akin ang lonely planet publications before (up to now; i kinda collect the lonely planet editions of places i visit). i coined a term for some of these backpackers before, lalo na yung mga nakakasalamuha ko papuntang baguio o sagada — euro-dugyut (kung may euro-trash…). medyo nyoho na kasi yung ilan sa kanila, siguro bilang di sanay sa daily baths, at saka siguro dahil nga backpacker chenes. ewan ko lang. pero madaming tulad nila noon, lalo na ngayon, na nagkalat sa pinas. at okay namang makasalamuha ang mga europeans kesa sa, say, north americans. well, except some snobbish french guys, but that’s another blog post…

which brings me to my biggest beef sa film — bakit american ang bida??? the novel’s protagonist is a british gen-x-er who has a soft spot for the philippines while leo dicaprio’s american version is of course not mentioning philippines at all. kebs ng kano sa pinas, right? hmp. chaka siya! and that whole “being called chicken” crap na eksena, yung uminom siya ng snake blood sa khao sarn road dahil ayaw niyang mabansagang duwag american, sus! walang ganung ego chenes sa book! so american talaga yung ek na yun sa film, pero sige, dahil nga sa american na yung film protagonist. all the more that i don’t like it, come to think of it. that american smugness i so remember, especially that scene where american protagonist richard was nonchalantly estimating the distance he and the french couple will swim. sabi nung french dude, “it’s just 2 kilometers.” so parang kaya daw nila languyin. ang sagot ng yabang american “i dunno. i think in miles.” na para bang kebs lang siya at dapat e mag-adjust ang lahat sa paligid niya sa kanya, so dapat i-calculate sa kanya in miles. punyeta! sooo fucking american! wala nito sa libro! kaya siguro hampanget ng film at di nag-iwan ng dent man lang sa akin.

which is why i am so glad i grabbed a copy of the book at booksale when i saw it. it was an engaging read. i like the way language was used here, because it’s in a conversational tone, pero hindi siya ganun ka-straightforward geeky-cum-social commentary like douglas coupland’s novels, pero conversational enough pa rin na ma-e-engage ka sa kinukuwento niya na hindi niya kailangang mag-resort to literary/linguistic hifalutin devices/strategies to tell the story. simple lang, plain, but not boring, and it worked for the kind of story he was telling. panalo. basta ganun ang effect. hindi rin siya tulad ng ibang travel tales na nabasa ko na masyado namang niro-romanticize ang pinuntahang lugar chenelyn to the point of exoticization, although if done well, baka pagbigyan ko ang ganitong moda. pero hindi nga bagay ang ganitong melodya sa kinukuwento dito sa librong to, kaya oks siya as it is.

i also like the way he explores and somehow comments on the backpacker culture in general, lalo na yung commentary sa differences in races and nationalities, ugali etc. panalo yun. nakaka-inspire to write something multicultural like this, too. hm, ba’t nga ba hindi?

tapos chaka lang din na nagkaroon ng love ek yung french girl at si american film boy. sa novel, forever plot device ito na pampahaba, na hindi na-consummate in the end, forever sexual tension lang, kaya mas poignant. nagulat din ako sa ending ha, kasi nga parang so lord of the flies-ish, but i don’t remember it being that way sa film. sayang. the film could have been a cult classic in itself much like how the novel first spoke about backpacker culture in general. major letdown nga nung nakita ko sa film yung much coveted beach. ang reak ko — “yun na yun??? e mas maganda pa ang __ (name a philippine beach) diyan a! what’s the big deal?” indeed, yun ang di nai-translate ng film na magandang na-build-up ng husto sa novel. it’s not basically the attainment of “the beach” but more of what happens when it is attained — this so-called idealized perfection, idealized simplicity of life on the beach ek. yun ang major drama, not the finding of the beach per se. ah basta ibang usapan yun! na nabitin dahil di na-deliver sa film. no woner danny boyle is not proud of this one. i have to agree with him. buti na lang at nag-bounce back siya sa iba niyang films after this one.

yes, one thing is the director. disappointed ako kasi si danny boyle pala ang direktor nun, he of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and TRAINSPOTTING fare. what gives at pumayag siyang hindi brit ang bida? dapat nagpaka-jk rowling clause siya, na dapat lahat ng gaganap sa pelikula version e brit like what she did with her HARRY POTTER series. hmp! sayang! nasasayangan ako! maganda pa naman si virginie ledoyen, the french girl in the movie hehe. siya lang ata ang accurate translation from book to film. the rest, lalo na yung character ni tilda swinton (na jubis-jubis sa nobela) na ang layo ng interpretation, tapos may love angle pa sila ni american protagonist! e hindi naman ganun ang character nilang dalawa, lalo na niya. nasira para sa akin yung essence ng character niya when they did that. sayang!

hay naku.

pero for that, na-inspire akong bilhin ang next novel niya after this, yung TESSERACT. set in the philippines daw yun, kaya yun ang gusto kong makita. sige, larga muna ko sa booksale. 🙂

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