RSS Become a Fan

Recent Posts

Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?
For All the Saints
It isn't even past
Life at the intersections
Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?


American Society
Current Events
Faith and Courage
Fiction and Life
Good an Evil
History, Research, Writing, Fiction
Human Destiny
Life and Death
Life in Aiken
Literary Criticism
Popular Music
U.S. History
War and Peace
World War I
Writing Groups
powered by

Clio's Temple

Truth, history, and complexity

My wife and I finally got around to seeing the latest movie version of Les Misérables yesterday. We'd seen the stage production twice before and loved both experiences. Since I wasn't sure how well the musical would adapt to big-screen presentation, there was some chariness about plunking down the funds to buy two tickets. My curiosity finally overrode my parsimony.

It was a pleasant surprise. Les Miz is one of those rare works of literature where a dramatic presentation may be better than reading the entire book. While Victor Hugo is rightly considered a titan of French literature, he is notorious for his bombast and for inundating his subject matter in a flood of prose (his poetry is better). The book is less complex than, say, your typical Dickens masterpiece, so there's less to be lost from the oversimplification that is required for dramatic presentation.

So how did the cinematic version compare to the stage production? The movie grabbed me at the outset, when it depicted Jean Valjean and his fellow convicts hauling a sailing ship into drydock. By contrast, the stage version depicted them doing roadwork; however, what I know of French history makes the maritime version seem more plausible.

Commentators have noted that the 1832 urban street fighting, depicted so vividly in the fight for the barricade, was inconsequential in the grand sweep of French history. 1848 was much more important, but it occurred after Hugo had already started writing his great work. Nonetheless, the silver screen version is superior in at least one key respect. While the on-stage presentation accurately conveys the close-quarter carnage of the final battle, the movie version gives a much better sense of just how out-of-the-way and insignificant the battle for this one barricade was. It makes the sacrifice of the students and workers more poignant.

So how would I rate this experience? I'd have to say that this is one of those cases where technology may actually advance stagecraft. Too often, that's not the case. I'll probably invest in a DVD at some point in the future.

1 Comment to Truth, history, and complexity:

Comments RSS
Charla on Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:59 AM

Thx the ideas you share by your website . In addition, more and more adult which want to become delicate not and in some cases try to obtain the nike air max 95 mens shoes on internet site because they fear they won't take care the quality. although many states right now require that may home owner supply coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. expense of on these types of guaranteed guidelines are usually bigger , but when contemplating high charge transportation it is usually any safer way to go can safeguard you actually nike air max 2009 womens long term .

Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint