Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mona Achache: Le hérisson

I was supposed to go to the Christmas market at the Folk Museum yesterday, but I didn't - it was just too cold, 15 below, I just couldn't force myself out in it knowing that I would be spending hours outside in that temperature. Brr. Anne Ida agreed, so we decided it'd be better to do something indoors instead and went to the movies. :-)

Good choice, because instead of freezing our noses off at the Museum, we got to see an absolutely wonderful movie. One that was even better than I'd hoped. :-) I've read the book this movie is based on - you can see my video review of it here; it's in Norwegian, I'm afraid - and I absolutely love it. So of course the movie was a potential disappointment ... especially as it's a very literary and cerebral novel, and it's a little hard to picture how it could make the transition to the screen with much ease. But it has!! Very impressively, Achache is a debuting director, and she also wrote the screenplay, based on the wonderful novel by Muriel Barbery. To be honest I can hardly believe that she hasn't made anything but two short films before this.

What I had read about the movie previously had made me think that it was only based on the book and would be likely to stray rather far from it. But that's not the case at all. We were both very pleasantly surprised (Anne Ida has read the book too and she loves it as well :-) by how faithful to the original story the movie is. The main alteration is that while one of the main characters in the novel keeps a diary, in the movie she is obsessed with filming everything around her. An obvious and necessary change. In other respects they have managed to preserve so much of the novel, I was very impressed. The tone, the wonderful characters, the fascinating microcosm of the setting, the humor ... pretty much everything. I loved it. :-)

In fact they have almost stayed too true to the book, because I had a small hope that they had changed the almost unbearably sad ending ... but no.

A low-key, slow-paced movie with fantastic characters SO beautifully portrayed. Hardly any action but still packed with impressions. One of the best movies I've seen all year. :-)

The book is available in English under the title The Elegance of the Hedgehog; in Norwegian it's called Pinnsvinets eleganse.


Anne Ida said...

Yup, it really is impressive! The film was sooo good! And even if there is a sad ending, I think it's kind of bitter sweet (like dark chocolate!)

Paz said...

Great that the film was true to the book, btw I like sad endings, maybe its the miserable B@$t@rd in me.
At -15 Irish people would freeze to death 6 days of the week. On Sundays most would survive as the freezing point of alcohol is -114 Celcius.