Wednesday, April 7, 2010
THE PROUST SCREENPLAY by Harold Pinter
Pinter's Proust Screenplay is a good read, and it would probably have been a marvelous film had it ever been produced--a better and more satisfying film than either of the best-known partial adaptations of subsequent decades, Volker Schlondorff's Swann in Love and Raoul Ruiz's Time Regained. While the latter is fascinating and beautiful (and casts the fascinatingly beautiful Catherine Deneuve as Odette), the filmmakers' decision to view the entire work through the lens of the final volume does too much violence to the structure of Proust's narrative. Pinter's screenplay, by contrast, extracts and preserves the Proustian architecture for a film that's a remarkable adaptation of all of Proust. While formal constraints obviously force him to leave much out, I found myself marveling at how much Pinter was able to get in. He retains the shape of Proust's work by shifting its rhythm into overdrive. Compared to the slow, oceanic rhythm of the Proustian text, Pinter's adaptation speeds past in half an eyeblink. Pick up a copy and screen it in the cinema of your mind.