Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'The Innocents,' 'Atonement' among Works in TIFF's New 'Books on Film' Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'The Innocents,' 'Atonement' among Works in TIFF's New 'Books on Film' Season

Article excerpt

TIFF set to unveil new 'Books on Film' season

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TORONTO - CBC Radio "Writers & Company" host Eleanor Wachtel is well-known for her love of literature but she's equally enthusiastic about film.

"In fact, when I was starting out in journalism, I could've gone either way in terms of writing about or talking about movies or books. And now sometimes when I embark on a 450-page novel, I think, 'Oh, if I could watch a 2 1/2-hour movie.' It is more compact," the Montreal native said with a laugh in a recent telephone interview.

"(Film) takes you to another world. Novels do, too, in a very different way -- in a different sense of interiority and intimacy. I used to recommend to friends, if they were feeling gloomy or whatever: (film) is, to me, the most powerful, non-pharmaceutical mood-alterer.

"You can go to a movie and you will come out in a different state of mind."

Wachtel gets to revel in her love of cinema as host of TIFF Bell Lightbox's "Books on Film" subscription series that kicks off a new season next week.

Run by the organization behind the Toronto International Film Festival, the series sees Wachtel speaking with filmmakers, authors and experts about the art and challenges of adaptation from literature to cinema. The chats happen after a screening of a featured film and before an audience Q&A.

The third season begins Monday with Wachtel and author/New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als discussing the 1961 gothic horror film "The Innocents." Director Jack Clayton adapted the story from Henry James's classic ghost story novella "The Turn of the Screw."

Wachtel said the novella was initially so successful that James felt readers weren't taking his other books seriously enough.

When it was made into an opera by Benjamin Britten and then a play, it was a great irony because "James had great ambitions as a theatre guy and failed miserably, was booed off the stage and felt very crushed by that and went back to writing novels," she added.

"So it's a kind of modern classic and the movie, of course, with Deborah Kerr . …

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