Thursday, 8 October 2009














I wasn't expecting to like this film. The title is so promising though isn't it? Possession. Possession of what or whom? I suppose that's the central focus of the film. An adaptation of A. S. Byatt's novel of the same name, this film is somewhat of a simplification of Byatt's deliciously long and layered book, which is itself a type of adaptation or amalgamation of previous novels, love stories and authors' lives in fictional form.

Perhaps I was sympathetic to this film because it is a romance about books, the promise of words on a page. Or perhaps because it so eloquently presented the nuances (and sometimes, trials) of academic life. Or perhaps, rather ironically, because it is such a simplification of the original book. I loved the density of Byatt's novel, but I also think that the film highlighted its main themes and questions. The idea that love, like identity, is sometimes a covert pastiche of the stories we have inherited. And from that point of view, can we unravel ourselves like a mystery novel? How well can we truly know another person? This film reminds me that sometimes the most simplistic adaptations of novels can reveal something about the original text.


amy said...

i love your wonderful film reviews, if you compiled a little book of them i would buy it immediately :)

Hila said...

oh thank you Amy, that's quite a compliment! I may just do that ... but I wouldn't know if people would be actually interested in my reviews :)

kerri nĂ­ dochartaigh said...

i would be interested too! have you read jeannete winterson's 'lighthousekeeping'? i really think you'd like it. xx

Sundari said...

I absolutely agree... your film reviews are so unique and personal. I love coming to your blog and reading about celebrations of literature and writing.

marie said...

i love your reviews too, ill have to see this one! where abouts in aus are you? (im in melbourne)

Flowers in my hair said...

The captions look wonderful, looking forward to see this, keep up with the great reviews x

onesilentwinter said...

oh hila we do share movie likes. i had read the book years before ( admitting to buying it because a.s. byatt always has the nicest covers) loved it and i saw the movie twice first time i had trouble with the two modern characters - trouble believing this macho man( held that kind of job i know but that is how i felt at the the time) then i watched it again a few months past and cared for it. not to mention the settings!

Urban Flea said...

lovely review... the first image of the writing really hit me in a delicious way. beautiful writing!

xo katherine aka. urban flea :)

louise said...

What a delightful and informative review, thanks. lj

danica said...

i haven't seen it, but it looks lovely! hope you're well :)

Hila said...

Thank you all so much for your comments.

I'm going to do it Amy! After talking about the idea of a book collection of little film reviews with some of my friends, everyone got so excited about the idea, that I couldn't not do it :)

Kerri: yes I have read it, but such a long time ago. I should really revisit it, thanks for reminding me.

Thanks Sundari :)

Marie: I'm in Perth for the moment, although I am applying for jobs at other universities, so who knows!

Flowers in my hair: thank you :)

onesilentwinter: yes, it is one of those films that you sort of need to return to.

Urban Flea and Louise: thank you :)

Danica: I hope you're well too! Only two more weeks left of classes and then comes the fun of exam marking for me!

Miss Madeline said...

That library picture looks really fantastic, I love libraries with old books!

sinnlighet said...

So glad I stumbled on your lovely lovely blog today, it's always nice to find other blogger out and about on the net!

I must tell you that I like like like your nice blog!

Agneta & Sweden

gracia said...

A romance about books... here's to that! Though this is perhaps not so surprising coming from me.

Another film I have yet to see. How my list grows and grows.

Thanks for your recent comment left on my blog. It means a great deal to me.


Mary-Laure said...

An adaptation of AS Byatt's Possession? Wow, that's some challenge...

I read she just published a new novel. I must look into this.

Windy Days said...

These film stills are breathtaking! I can't help but romanticise books too..

Hila said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

please sir said...

Oh wow looks like a great film...must check out!

Hila said...

I know, it's so pretty isn't it?

Make it Easy said...

beautiful scenes!!!

Hila said...

I know!

angela said...

Thank you for your lovely and amazing posts, I enjoy every single one of them!!

Such beautiful scenes.

Hila said...

Thanks Angela!