Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Synopses of Smoke and So It Seams for Potential Film-Makers

A friend of mine with some film industry connections asked me the other day for brief synopses of my two novels and how I might see them translated to film, because she'd like to pitch them to her friends. At first, I was stymied. I hadn't thought of them as films at all while writing. But financial "desperation" rendered these results.

I'm sharing these "sales pitches" because I believe they're the best short descriptions for the novels I've come up with yet. I also highly recommend the films mentioned. It now occurs to me I may have also mentioned Akiro Kurosawa's Rashomon when talking about Smoke. Perhaps my friend will see this post and add it to the synopsis below.


Dear ------:

A two sentence synopsis and a vision for the film[s]. Here goes [I know I fail spectacularly at brevity]:

Smoke: Compassion for paranoid authority, compassion for paranoid anarchy, compassion for the paranoia-driven mysterious incidents defining all. A post-9/11 trauma dramatizing the frayed tribalism of a country gone berserk with a certain terrifying humor [I laughed out loud in the movie theater when Christ--in Mel Gibson's ridiculous passion movie, is being nailed to the cross by bumbling idiotic Romans as the over-the-top ignorantly evil San Hedrin bear witness--cries out "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do;" the Romans in the scene don't seem to know how to nail him to a cross nor Gibson know how to film such a movie, hilarious, unintentionally ironic, and you should have seen the dirty looks I got for laughing when others were crying]. The closest films to a possible Smoke adaptation I've seen might be Pi and A Serious Man. However, the cinematography of Pi is closer to what I imagine, and the unanswerable questions of A Serious Man might be closest theme-wise.

So It Seams: "It" seems the Atman. "Seams" derives from sutra-suture and tantra, "to weave." It depicts a between space not unlike the Bardo Thodol's bardo plane, how the diversity of things are joined together and mysteriously inter-relate. Abundant sex is a necessary element in the way the Kama Sutra is necessary to certain kinds of spiritual enlightenment. It skewers [pun intended] ideology, theology and isms in general. Like Smoke, it raises more questions than it answers. It depicts The Mystery of Consciousness with, I hope, a great deal of humor. It reveals the impotence of technology and machines. It shows the necessity of literature as opposed to film. It actualizes the fiction of everything. The end is not the end. The "So" preceding "It" means there's a reason, but as in Smoke, the cause to the effect is mysterious. By "Atman" I mean the self; one's truest nature; the indestructible life drop at our core which is that element of the universal soul in-forming all things. A cosmic intra-relatedness manifesting itself to us as inter-relatedness. As a film, it's difficult to find comparisons. Perhaps Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World" on acid...a David Lynch re-make. It would take an odd genius to translate it to cinema.

Among my favorite film-makers, the ones whose visions seem closest to mine in these particular cases, are the Coen brothers and Darren Aronofsky...maybe David Lynch, too. Someone capable of pulling off comic terror in a medium that parodizes itself.

I hope that helps. It's not easy summing up fiction in terms of film when film was the farthest thing from my mind when writing them. It's only the financial pressure and a desire to survive that's pushing this forward. The film-makers would have to be brave and generous souls to undertake either project.

Anyway, I hope this helps...and thank-you from the bottom of my heart. Things will work out for us one way or the other. Keep the faith.


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