Autor Thane Rosenbaum schreibt in Forward einen sehr guten Artikel darüber, warum Buchverfilmungen meist das Echo „Aber das Buch war besser“ hervorrufen und warum das ziemlich überflüssig ist. Besonders ein Satz hat mir gefallen: „(…) the novelist surrenders his book to his readers.“ Was bedeutet: Beim Lesen kann sich jeder die Bilder dazudenken, die er gerne hätte oder die er eben aus den Zeilen herausliest. Im Kino ist es die Kunst des Regisseurs, genau das zu verhindern; ein Film bzw. dessen Bilder wird/werden von jedem gleich rezipiert. Was man dann aus den Bildern an Bedeutung herausliest, bleibt allerdings wieder jedem selbst überlassen. Weswegen ich persönlich sowohl Bücher als auch Filme liebe – jedes Medium auf seine ganz eigene Weise.

Giving art a second life sometimes creates more of a mutant than a clone. This explains the natural impulse to preserve the story in its original form. Any adaptation results in something new, and thereby false when compared with the original.

Yet, the film version may offer its own virtues. Indeed, many films have outshone the books that inspired them. The Godfather and Gone With the Wind come to mind. The fact is, novels and films are entirely different storytelling experiences. When it comes to making a movie based on a book – or ultimately watching that movie – being too invested in the integrity of the novel is probably a bad idea.

A film adaptation that is deemed “faithful” to the novel is not necessarily a compliment. The most successful adaptations have actually been adulterous: Liberties are taken; all kinds of cheating ensues. The artistic license enables great leaps of improvisation. There are redesigned endings, compressed time periods and newly invented characters, and often an entirely different storytelling mechanism. Anyone who read The English Patient before having seen the Academy Award-winning movie remembers shaking his head, imagining how in the world Michael Ondaatje’s superbly interior novel could ever sparkle so majestically on the silver screen.

(Link via Arts & Letters Daily)