[ilds] My Family and Other Animals, the Movie

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 6 07:18:52 PDT 2007

The production of My Family and Other Animals demonstrates the difficulties of transposing Gerald Durrell's wacky and poetic novel onto film.  It's neither funny nor lyrical.  The latter would require imaginative camera work, perhaps the kind the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was capable of or the great French director, Claire Denis.  The former needs a script and actors that can do more than make the plot appear like a bunch of weirdos doing slapstick.  The young actor portraying Larry was particularly bad.  In Gerald's book, his older brother comes across as an ambitious writer on the make.  In the film, he's simply a colossal jerk.  The Corfu scenery was interesting, in a postcard kind of way, but largely wasted.  I would like to see what Denis would do with it. (In fact, I would like to see Denis tackle the Avignon Quintet -- that's her kind of weird stuff.)  Given a good script, actors, and director, period pieces set in the Mediterranean can be successful.  Here, I cite the British adaptation of Olivia Manning's Balkan and Levant Trilogies (The Fortunes of War [1987]), shot on location, which featured the acting of the magnificent Emma Thompson.  A tremendous film in all respects.  That crew could have done something interesting with the Alexandria Quartet.  They'd probably have failed, but it would have been provocative and memorable.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Durrell School of Corfu <durrells at otenet.gr>
>Sent: Jun 5, 2007 10:06 PM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's art of pastiche
>In what sense was it 'terrible'? RP
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>To: <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>; <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 5:22 AM
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's art of pastiche
>> Is this the fairly recent British adaptation of My Family and Other 
>> Animals?  If so, that was terrible.  The only good thing about it being 
>> Corfu.  If not, this is apparently a rip off of a rip off -- an example of 
>> the downhill path of unlicensed borrowings.
>> Bruce
>> -----Original Message-----
>>>From: Marc Piel <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>
>>>Sent: Jun 5, 2007 3:10 PM
>>>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's art of pastiche
>>>Hello everyone,
>>>I came across this by accident: on the European tv
>>>channel "Arté" tonight; "Jours tranquilles à
>>>Corfu" (quite days in Corfu), an english dramatic
>>>comedy by Sheree (sic) Folkson with Eugene Simon,
>>>Imelda Staunton, Tamiz Merchant, Russelle Tovey,
>>>Mathew Goode... Dans les années trente, une
>>>famille britanique fantasque prend ses quartiers
>>>d'été en Corfu.
>>>I only looked at the beginning... that was more
>>>than enough. After this monstrous mediocrity, I
>>>would accept any brilliant and clever borrowings
>>>from a tallented writer like LD. Surely we must
>>>put things into perspective. How can such a film
>>>be allowed????? This question is directed to the
>>>academics and to the people who make laws on
>>>intellectual property! In this case intellectual
>>>Marc Piel


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