Bernard Schlink’s “The Reader” now on film
By Rhea B. Peñaflor
Published at The News Today, 2009
Way back in college, my friends and I were talking about Bernhard Schlink’s must-read novel, “The Reader”. Over a cup of coffee at the then Cafe’ Society beside Otra Vez (when no brewed coffee was yet available at that time), we were saying that it would be great if a film could be made out of this novel. And indeed, it is an unexplainable joy to know that this will become a reality since a film was finally made based on the novel and is expected to be released in the U.S. on December 12 of this year. Due to its limited release though, it may take some time before it reaches the Philippine cinemas. I want to be optimistic that The Reader will certainly reach the Filipino audience because I strongly recommend this film.
The Reader is a novel which was brilliantly written by German author and lawyer Bernhard Schlink. This is the kind of novel which you want to read and re-read all over again, yet you continue to palpitate every time you turn the pages of the book. Schlink’s fertile imagination and creativity is beyond measure and his depth for his craft is unbelievable as he combined history and literature.
Becoming the first German novel to top the New York Times bestseller list, The Reader is now considered as an international bestseller. Oprah Winfrey also made it a selection of her book club. The novel has been translated into 37 other languages, and assigned in college-level courses on Holocaust literature.
Also, Schlink’s “Flights of Love” is a must-read book. This book has 7 unique short stories and again, Schlink has proved himself to be a master storyteller. He was not afraid to write something different. Any reader could not just stop from reading his stories. Flights of Love to me is poetry in prose. Schlink succeeded in keeping the beat and the rhythm all throughout and in each and every story. He has made his readers think every time and has reached out to them as if they are part of it through his novels and stories. That is why I would believe that all those who have read Schlink’s writings are more than excited to watch the film, The Reader. Who wouldn’t be?
Although the film got an “R” rating from Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for some scenes of sexuality and nudity, it is certainly not scandalous or obscene but it was artistically executed by the actors. Watching the theatrical trailer creates a certain stimulus especially when one has read the novel which by the way is available (as of this writing) in Booksale SM City-Iloilo. I found two copies of The Reader there. Hurry before someone gets them at a bargain price of P70 which was originally around P400 or more for a paperback copy. I have not seen any copy left in other bookstores, though.
British film director Stephen Daldry who was Academy award nominee for the film, “The Hours” is also The Reader’s director. “The Reader” stars Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Karoline Herfuth, Hannah Herzprung and David Kross.
As pointed out, The Reader as a novel is a must-read and with strong conviction, I would say that it is also a must-see film.
Simply put, The Reader is the kind of film that we should watch out for.
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