Thursday, January 04, 2007

Virginia Woolf on film

In side-bar the link to her essays I have put up does not include The Cinema, first published in Arts in June 1926. Having just first listened to a BBC archive of her giving a short talk, Words Fail me, 29 April 1927, her upperclass accent seems to echo right through the essay as I read it immedately afterwards, proving in a way her very point about how cinema has to find its own way of communicating. By that I mean if you read the essay first without hearing what she sounded like, you would probably imagine someone not quite so grand. Having heard her first, then read it, one can't quite accept the ideas because they come from this voice! Pure prejudice of course, but this can be the reaction. In the same way a film that is made like a book is written, fails in the way she describes so simply and well in this essay in a way reminiscent of Orwell..

Claudia Roth Pierpont writes in The NYTMagazine in 1996 writes on Virgina Woolf the writer and Virginia Woolf the icon which helps in a way to get over the snobbism difficulty, if it is one. And, as we read here, who wouldn't like to have fallen butter side up like her, with a nice little inherited income to enable her to fix her mind on writing....

I am so interested in The Pinter Proust Play because it seems to be so helpful for anyone who is more interested in screenplay than novel writing, but who also want to see the points of depart and intersection between the two in any case. I have a disadvantage in not knowing Remembrance well: only dipping into sections that have immediate interest because of some stimulus, such as trying to get to grips with the idea of Love and Place through reading the Balbec sections.

Comparing the scene where Marcel meets the girls giggling on the beach [ Pinter: The Promendade, Balbec, 1898....I was standing in front of the Grand Hotel when I saw coming towards me five or six young girls, as difference in appearance and manner from all the people one was accustomed to seeing at Balbec as could have been. One of these stranger was pushing with one hand, her bicycle."] with the book is as good a way as any of seeing where Woolf has got it or not about film or not: Pinter's screenplay is now generally regarded to be a work of genius in screenplay terms.

Virgina Woolf at the age of 17:

Methinks the human method of expression by sound of tongue is very elementary, & ought to be substituted for some ingenious invention which should be able to give vent to at least six coherent sentences at once.



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