"I believe that a successful film adaptation is one that manages to express in its own way what only the cinematic medium can reveal about the source material."
Two of the ten books that were presented in to an audience of film producers at the first ever digital "Books at Berlinale" this year came from Canada, the Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. In "The Confetti Flight Path" (La trajectoire des confettis) by Marie-Ève Thuot, generations of characters, trapped by social norms, successively test the limits of decency. We talked to the author about the prospect of her book being adapted as a movie.
© Isabelle Lafontaine
Milan Kundera, one of my favorite authors, says that a good novel expresses what can solely be conveyed by the novelistic form. As a result, he considers successful adaptations of a good novel, theatrical or otherwise, to be impossible. As interesting as that idea is, I rather believe that a successful film adaptation is one that manages to express in its own way what only the cinematic medium can reveal about the source material. I would like to see such a film illustrate what, perhaps, I did not immediately see in my book.
What do you imagine your book to look like in motion picture? Do you have, for example, a dream cast or director in mind?
I consider the polyphonic structure of my novel’s narrative as its most important aspect, so I would visualize it as an ensemble piece, with multiple actors getting more or less an equal amount of screen time. As for the ideal actors, that question is a bit of a conundrum because I deliberately restrained myself from providing detailed physical descriptions of the characters of my novel.
Have movies had any influence on the development of your own way of storytelling and writing?
I wouldn’t say that specific movies influenced my writing directly. However, as I look back, there are obviously some themes, aesthetics and editing styles in movies I admire that guided my conception of art. Films that are upfront and even daring regarding matters of sexual identity and taboos (Pedro Almodovar, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Xavier Dolan), colorful ensemble pieces (Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino), twisted existential inquiries (Lars von Trier), explorations of the female gaze (Sofia Coppola, Andrea Arnold) and, in a more general sense, films by Paul Thomas Anderson, Claire Denis, David Lynch all had something to do with the shaping of my own sensibility as an artist.
If your book ends up being turned into a movie, would you be interested in being part of the process?
I have no experience in the movie business, but I understand that writing a script and a novel are two different challenges. I guess that it all depends on the creative process a director and/or screenwriter chooses to adopt; some prefer imbuing a source novel with their own personal interpretations of the subject matter, while others aspire to shape their adaptation as closely as possible to the original work. Having said that, I certainly would be honored to collaborate with an artist that shows interest in my novel, be it in an advisory role or even a co-writing partnership.
Thank you for the interview!
Interview conducted by Pia Springsklee, Trainee PR & Communikations at Frankfurter Buchmesse