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Why Directors Are Writing Novels Instead of Making Movies.

It is ironic, but not terribly surprising, that the opening line of celebrated filmmaker David Cronenberg's debut novel Consumed"Naomi was in the screen"places one of its protagonists inside the pixilated confines of a MacBook Air, greedily investigating the "small, shabby, scholarly apartment" of a pair of married French philosophers. It takes another handful of pages before we come to understand that intrepid journalist and technophile Naomi is not literally in the screen, but merely engrossedwe might even say "consumed"by a video she watches in the Paris airport. The scene feels like a classic Cronenberg bit of misdirection, instantly recognizable from one of his films.

In celebrating (and, perhaps, critiquing) 21st-century technology within the confines of the decidedly analog form of the novel, Cronenberg joins the small but growing fraternity of established filmmakers like Ethan Coen, Harmony Korine, and Gus Van Sant who have tried their hand at fiction. (John Sayles, best known for socially conscious films like Matewan, began his career as a novelist, and has returned to fiction on and off over the past three decades, most recently with the 1,000-page historical behemoth A Moment in the Sun.) Perhaps after so many years or decades telling stories through images, the idea of using words alone becomes increasingly tantalizing to filmmakers as an opportunity to thoroughly control the storytelling process.

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Author:Austerlitz, Saul
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Oct 13, 2014
Words:236
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