Friday’ Movie/Literature’ Café
Don’t miss this week’s ‘Movie/Literature‘ Café!
This past summer, I enjoyed watching the most recent Wonder Woman film, an intriguing movie about a woman, directed by a woman. The director Patty Jenkins filmed an epic adventure. The heroine is an Amazon, and her story made me want to read more about mythical Amazons. In the movie she is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and lives on a hidden paradise island, the island nation of Themyscira.
This is certainly not the place mentioned in Aeschylus: in the drama Eumenides the Amazons have a camp in Attica, far from that wonderful island.
Comply with my decree now, people of Attica, as you judge [krinein] the first trial [dikai] for bloodshed. In the future this council of jurors will always exist for the people of Aegeus. 685 And this Hill of Arēs [Areopagus], which was the position and the camp of the Amazons when they came here because of a grudge against Theseus, and they invaded with their army, and built a newly-founded rival polis with high towers, and dedicated their city to Arēs; the name of this rock comes from that event; 690 it is called the Hill of Arēs. The townsmen’s reverence for this hill—and fear, her kinsman—will prevent them from acting unjustly both day and night alike, so long as my citizens do not revise their laws [nomoi] by adding evil to them; if you pollute clear water with filth, 695 you will never find a drink.
Aeschylus Eumenides Sourcebook
Many other movies or TV shows prompted me to go back to the texts, to the original Greek Mythology or stories, either because of discrepancies or just to know more about the subject.
In the movie Troy with Brad Pitt, Agamemnon is not killed by his wife Clytemnestra, but by Briseis. Hard to believe! Is there a myth behind this version?
I remember being disappointed by differences between some novels and films; Wuthering Heights was one of them. I enjoyed the book, but was not pleased as much by the movie.
What about you—what do you think of the way literature translates into film? Do you have favorite films which were able to transport you into the world of literature without disappointment, or conversely books which prompted you to watch movies? How did you react to the transformation by and/or the use of the media? Were you shocked by the way myths or novels were adapted or were you charmed by the way a good film director staged a story?
Come inside the café—the weather is definitely colder, and a log fire is blazing in the hearth. Order a nice virtual drink and some snacks, take a comfortable armchair, and let’s chat about movies, myths, and the revamping of literature through the eye of a camera.
Departure of the Amazons, by Claude Deruet, 1620 Wikipedia Commons, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons