Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky is a novel by Paul Bowles. I love everything Bowles wrote. Bernardo Bertolucci filmed this novel. I found the movie less entertaining than the book; scarcely worth watching, is how I remember the film (and a big letdown after The Conformist).  It's fair to note that, alas, Bowles's novel struck me as scarcely worth finishing: it seemed to me, while I was trying to read it, that after writing about a third of what could have turned out to be a very, very good book indeed, Bowles just got bored with it .... but continued writing it anyway. He had got hold of a theme that wouldn't support a whole symphony?  Not even a film score?  Bowles is much better at writing short stories -- he's really at the top of his form, perhaps because they hold his attention.  Or because he doesn't get bored before they are over?  Possibly a logline for a film would be his ideal length?  Maybe The Sheltering Sky was just too big and too ambitious (as a book); or perhaps it needed a strong passionate romance at its core, and I don't think Bowles was temperamentally any more capable of writing a strong passionate romance than he was of living through one himself.  Bowles spent much of his life in, and preferred living in, Morocco, a country where most of the natives despised him as a foreigner.  What hapened to Bertolucci's flim, I don't know.  Got lost in Morocco, I guess.  Don't miss visiting the great Moroccan / Mediterranean restaurant Aromas  in Charlottesville.  Next time you're here.  It is at Barracks Road.  You might be here at the film festival, maybe -- at the beginning of November 2012?  For the Messiah Sing In at Old Cabell Hall in early December?  Thank you, NetFlix for making "a life with film included" possible here in Bumpass, Virginia.

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