The Lucky 13 Film Club: The Revenant

CINDY’S THOUGHTS 

Lucky 13 Film Club: The Revenant

the-revenant
Alejandro González Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio

I am ready. Tom at http://www.digitalshortbread.com is ready. The Revenant is January’s topic on the 13th and everyone is welcome. I have daydreamed that Leonardo DiCaprio has called method actor and friend, Daniel Day-Lewis, to ask him about how to win that elusive Oscar. We have all heard the stories of DDL’s intense strategies to become the character. So Leo has eaten and climbed into raw carcasses, shivered in the cold, and been mauled by the bear. Some movie buffs like me are wondering if his dedication to the role will pay off. Add to the mystique of the film like director Alejandro González Iñárritu love for the tracking shot (Will he win 2 years in a row?) and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubeski (him, too) filming in natural light with the Arri Alexa 65 camera. Check out this interesting article by Matt Giles in Popular Science found  HERE.  The trailers alone assure me I will be dazzled by the natural setting. Filmed in Alberta Canada and Argentina? Yes, it will be a beautiful film but will the screenplay written by Mark Smith & EGI be solid?

I’ve read Michael Punke’s account of Hugh Glass, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, and the movie adaptation has an added subplot of Glass losing a son, thereby creating the motivation behind the revenge. This usually incites objections from purists who don’t like their history altered. Movies and books telling the same story are two texts, two different art mediums; I believe “based on a true story” means “swallow this with tablespoon of salt.”  As long as the historical climate is realistic, the merging of facts with fiction is a delicate balance of inspiration stressed by the author’s personal preferences. 

I recommend you check out this interview of Leo, go see the movie, and drop by on the 13th to add your opinion of this year’s surefire contender during award season. Thanks, Tom, for co-hosting this month’s discussion. 0001-60259980

The Revenant and History

Punke's novel is a page-turner
Punke’s novel is a page-turner

Michael Punke’s historical novel, The Revenant, is a true page-turner accurately depicting the historical climate of 1822 on the American frontier and the Missouri River. It highlights the true account of frontiersman, Hugh Glass. In preparation for seeing the film with a limited release on December 25 and a wide release date of January 8, it is the January topic for the Lucky 13 Film Club. Would you be interested to volunteer as a guest conversation opener about an aspect of this film?

Before watching the film, I wanted to read the book. The prose of the grizzly attack is gripping as the bear slashes Glass’s throat, nearly scalps him, and leaves gashes on his back which become infected with maggots. This is the debut novel from international trade lawyer, Michael Punke, and his descriptions are impressive.

DiCaprio as Hugh Glass
DiCaprio as Hugh Glass

Abandoned by fellow crew-mates, John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass sets out and crawls 350 miles to regroup at a fort before setting out to seek his vengeance. From the trailer, it looks like the script will include Glass’s lost son and this motivation propels Glass as avenger. I’ve never had a problem with film adaptations taking liberties. They are two separate texts I critique independently. I do recommend the book; it’s a quick, satisfying read. 4.8 out of 5

With Tom Hardy playing the antagonist Fitzgerald and Alejandro G. Iñárritu directing, the trailers suggest a realistic approach to the cinematography and has me itching to see it on the widescreen. You can read more about the film including watching the trailers found HERE.

History

Lightning_strike_jan_2007

In September, strong storms rolled through our Arizona valley. We live on top of a hill and when the lightning struck, the water pump blew and in spite of surge protectors, all our electronic components fried. A decade of pictures, the manuscript of my first novel, and all my files were gone. Yesterday, three bolts hit our hill. Yes, history repeated itself in a matter of a month and destroyed all that we had replaced.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we were roughing-it in Colorado, camping. When the frost dampened our tent, and we shivered inside our heavy sleeping bags, and the coyotes started howling right next to us, I felt vulnerable and exposed and wished next time to stay in a lodge because I missed the comforts of home. Last week, our landlords informed us they were selling the house, and we needed to vacate the premises as soon as possible.

I study and teach history for a living. And what it has taught me about the present is how temporary life is. Our relationships alter, our jobs and goals change. Dreams pursued are either squelched, missed or acquired. We humans are in a constant state of transition. Whatever we build, crumbles. Whatever we think we own, evaporates. Stuff is just stuff. Ready or not, time marches on.

Survival stories like The Revenant remind me how easy I have it today than in 1822; to complain about my “bad luck” seems ludicrous. Books and films of history remind me how noble our ancestors were. How they survived despite the odds or how tragic their deaths. I don’t have maggots crawling out of my back after being pulverized by a Grizzly. This sounds disparate, but it helps cool the sting when I am standing in line to buy another computer and television.

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