Salman Rushdie Complains About the Academy Awards, Calls "Slumdog Millionaire" Trivial Bullshit
Sir Salman Rushdie delivered a speech at Emory University yesterday, in which he complained about modern movie adaptations of books. Although he also criticized "Benjamin Button" and "The Reader," he was mainly pissed off by the film "Slumdog Millionaire," because he said it has narrative problems that make it more of a fairy tale than a piece of modern narrative craft. According to Rushdie, the movie has a plot spun out of candyfloss and cheap tricks: the sort of thing that newspapers call "touching" and "human"...

...but which merely spraypaint a melodramatic sheen on deeply-ingrained colonial prejudice.

"The problem with this adaptation begins with the work being adapted," he said, claiming that the movie "piles impossibility on impossibility."

I saw this flick with my pal Bill Chapters one evening while we were both lonely and bored. After it was done, we both wondered the same thing: "can you really still write stories in this day and age where women characters have no agency and are basically princesses who are trapped in castles waiting to be rescued?"

I mean, can you? The female lead is rescued from her life of prostitution by a strong male with a big gun two separate times in this movie, suggesting that -- unless protected by the violent raw power of male symbols -- a woman will naturally drift into prostitution. Which may be true, but if so, it should be explicitly explored and not merely magically facted.

And after the main character's miraculous "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" victory, wouldn't he have a sudden, crippling existential breakdown and end up in a mental institution? Wouldn't it be awful to know for certain that there is a God and that He is a hack writer?

Djinns, guns, sluts, poverty, and trivia!

And at the end, everybody dances!

Posted by miracle on Mon, 23 Feb 2009 20:08:39 -0500 -- permanent link

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