random insanity

There seems to be an unwritten law, concerning books and their cinematic equivalents. Almost everyone, who claims for himself to be an interested reader, doesn’t seem to be able to like the film as much as the original written version. All you hear is: “Sure I enjoyed the movie, but I liked the book a whole lot better.” I had a very similar feeling, having watched both of the “Lord of the Flies” movies, one by Peter Brook, the other by Harry Hook. A reason for that might be in general, that reading a book allows us to use our imagination to build our very own little world inside the borders of the given content. For it is impossible for the author to give every little detail of the surroundings, the characters or the storyline, our own experiences and ideas are bound to help building our inner view of the things happening. The details the author wants to give to us readers – and does so by giving informations that are allegedly unimportant - do have their purpose however. They’re the special, little mental impulses, the author wants us to know and not to misinterpret at all costs. The rest is up to the reader. But this freedom of imagination leads to the inevitable conflict between filmed and written conversion of one and the same content. When watching a movie you can’t help but to notice a lot of details which are given to you just by the use of the medium film. Things, the author wouldn’t bother to explain, are now simply given, as the camera angle is bound to show more than intended. Or, so to speak, can only show less. When trying to show someone’s feelings for example, the author simply has the possibility to name them and to give a view into the character. The director on the other hand has to adapt the way of showing a character’s feelings to the type of media given. Instead of being able to write “Johnny was fuming; he could’ve killed Seymour for what he had done”, he has to rely on more indirect ways to let the actors express themselves. Using such sublime ways of expression as body language and mimics, he can be sure not to miss his aim which is to express a person’s feelings without exactly naming them. Following the example of Johnny, he could, for example, clench his fists and frown at Seymour while muttering something inaudible. Everyone will understand certain gestures or facial expressions, regardless of nationality, culture ore religion. And although you as a viewer can’t help but to understand, it is nothing you can put your finger on. So, the expression of feelings isn’t really a point of criticism when it comes to the comparison of book and movie, because everyone would imagine more or less the same kinds of gestures etc. when it comes to expressing one special emotion. The real problem develops from the little details mentioned earlier. Having read a book, you obligatorily have a strongly fixed image of the whole of the book. Without having done it on purpose, you have an inner picture of every last detail. Now being confronted with the one picture the director had, can’t be satisfying in any way. And that was exactly what had happened to me, after having watched both movies and having read the book before. Speaking of imagination, one of the most important facts of the book seemed very easy to forget: All of the characters were just children. Not being steadily reminded by the plain view of children acting, it was easy to exclude the age of the acting characters from one’s thinking. This surely was done on purpose by Golding, for the book is full of sharp criticism against the adult world and its obligations. The aspect of children being very much like adults just by the fact, that they are human beings and thus having certain samples of behavior already integrated, appears far more evident when not being reminded by the view of children all the time. In my eyes, especially the importance of Piggy’s semi-tragic role is simply destroyed because of being played to childishly instead of making the impression of a wise, yet misunderstood sage. Instead of feeling sympathy like in the book, I was just glad when this annoying brat was hit by the cheap plastic rock. The book, being sometimes disturbing but at all times binding, left its impressions. Especially the description of nature itself or, to be more exact, the jungle, was astonishing. The compromise between beauty and danger was well chosen and described. Most people probably haven’t had the luck of having visited a real jungle (or maybe just haven’t satisfied their urge to visit one; greetings to Huxley). But no one who read the book “Lord of the Flies” would see it as a privilege or luck, to make acquaintance with this kind of jungle. Although it has its fascinating and even charming sides, most of the time the jungle is described as something dangerous and threatening. The typical view of a “holiday rainforest” was at the same time underlined and objected. The movies on the other hand seemed quite indecisive, which way to go. But to show the jungle and with it nature itself as something either beautiful or dangerous is simply impossible, as it is both. Only the book was able to point out this twofold aspect of nature.