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The Film Reel: Cult Films Based on Written Fiction

I like a lot of things, but mostly I like film. I’d never go as far as calling myself a critic or an expert, but I enjoy watching movies all the same.

I’m not really picky when it comes to genres, but just don’t let me watch overly sweet, diabetes-inducing romance movies! There are a few exceptions, like maybe “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” but that’s where I draw the line.

What I do like, however, are horror and other non-mainstream flicks. I also like films based on novels and short stories, because I like reading too. I honestly find such movies interesting, although only up to a certain extent. I think doing remakes is kind of tricky. There’s this thing about remaining faithful to the books, yet trying to make the output appealing not only to the existing fan base but also to the public. There’s also the issue as to how far the author is willing to have his or her story modified. Et cetera.

I’ve had the misfortune of seeing one too many bad remakes, but I was also lucky enough to see a few really good ones. That said, let me share with you some of my favorite films that were based on novels and a short story. For the purpose of this article, I’ve narrowed down my list and picked ones that are both cult favorites and were shot in analogue. And no, I won’t do a comparison on which version’s better!

‘Battle Royale’ (2000) directed by Kinji Fukasaku and shot using the Arriflex 535B equipped with Zeiss and Angenieux lenses and loaded with 35 mm Kodak Vision Color Negative films. Movie poster via Draft House

One of my most favorite films is the controversial Japanese action thriller Battle Royale. I know its premise might seem awful in print (it wasn’t love at first watch for me, either), but it’s something that has grown to me especially after I read the novel. Weird as it may sound, but it turned out that the story isn’t purely mindless gore as it also explored themes such as loyalty and friendship. It has an excellent music score, too, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted, composed, and arranged by Masamichi Amano.

‘Wristcutters: A Love Story’ (2006) directed by Goran Dukic and shot using Rocky Mountain cameras and lenses loaded with 16 mm Kodak film. Movie poster via Scenic Reflections

Next is the American film Wristcutters: A Love Story, which was based on Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s short story, “Kneller’s Happy Campers.” It’s, well, a love story as the title suggests, but it’s not your usual romantic film. There are two things that I like about this. First, that it’s set in “a strange afterlife way station that has been reserved for people who have committed suicide.” It was new to me the first time I heard about it and so I was very intrigued. Second, that its shot in such a way that makes the film look more somber to give emphasis on the difference between our world and the afterlife.

‘Let the Right One In’ (2008) directed by Tomas Alfredson and shot using Arriflex 535B equipped with Zeiss Super Speed lenses and loaded with 35 mm Fuji Eterna films. Movie poster via Fanpop

Lastly, Let the Right One In. It’s a Swedish vampire film, but what sets it apart from the usual is that it follows the friendship and eventual romantic relationship between two young kids. I think it’s probably one of those movies that, had it been given to the wrong hands, would turn out bad and controversial because the subject is pretty sensitive. And like “Battle Royale,” this film also has its share of blood and gore.

All information in this article were sourced from IMDB and Wikipedia.

Like this article? Check out our film-related series Friday Movie Flashback series and The Director’s Chair from the Lomography magazine!

written by chooolss

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano.