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Perelandra Movie thread

An archived study of the second book of Lewis' theological science fiction Space Trilogy.

Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Stanley Anderson » 30 Oct 2004, 18:42

I thought I would start this as a separate thread independent of the chapter study threads to act as a sort of ongoing one (if it proves to be at all popular).

I'm not sure how I see this going, but I was just thinking that ideas about how such a book would be filmed would be interesting, since it is not your typical plot-oriented action-packed story. As we go along in the study, we might comment on how certain things could be filmed or various aspects gotten across visually or by dialogue or whatever -- where special effects would be most needed (or even least desireable).

In connection with the second chapter's inclusion of Ransom's return and the sudden chop off at the end of the book, I think close adherence to this aspect could be very effective. I can see the lid of the return coffin closing down on Ransom as the viewer sees from Ransom's point of view the red flowers trickle down over him before the lid covers him completly. The screen goes black as the cracks close up and the credits begin.

Now what would the soundtrack music be like? One of the things I didn't like about Shore's soundtrack to LotR (ok, ok, there were some nice parts in there) was that it was soooo conventional. You could almost predict when the Carmina Burana-like voices would come in or guess exactly how the battle music would sound. I wanted something more other worldly or un-John Williams-ish (not that I don't like Williams of course), not sure exactly, just more unexpected.

Well, those are some initial comments. I think K posted his idea for the opening a while back. It was an interesting idea, but I wouldn't want to miss the opening chapter with its necessary (in my opinion) buildup of tension as Lewis walks to Ransom's house. A flashback could occur after the opening K suggests perhaps. Again, not sure.

--Stanley
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Guest » 30 Oct 2004, 19:29

During the book, there were many times where I thought to myself: Man, I would LOVE to see this put into a movie, even through all the intellectual debate, I think that part of it could be handled, the main problem would be the nudity all throughout it... no?
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Sven » 30 Oct 2004, 19:35

Stanley Anderson wrote:Now what would the soundtrack music be like? One of the things I didn't like about Shore's soundtrack to LotR (ok, ok, there were some nice parts in there) was that it was soooo conventional. You could almost predict when the Carmina Burana-like voices would come in or guess exactly how the battle music would sound. I wanted something more other worldly or un-John Williams-ish (not that I don't like Williams of course), not sure exactly, just more unexpected.


Could just use the music from the opera

Image Image
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Guest » 30 Oct 2004, 20:30

Could just use the music from the opera


LOL!
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby loeee » 02 Nov 2004, 19:29

Costuming: impossible. There is just no way to do it right. You'd have to put clothes on everyone, and that would change everything.
"You can't go walking through Mordor in naught but your skin."
Put on the full armor of God.
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Stanley Anderson » 02 Nov 2004, 21:20

[from loeee]:
>Costuming: impossible. There is just no way to do it right. You'd have to
>put clothes on everyone, and that would change everything.

So you don't think the Tabloid-type TV show technique of using large "square" pixillated areas would work effectively, eh?:-)

But yes, I agree -- that is definitely a difficult hurdle. I think that theoretically, it could be done tastefully, even with the lack of clothes. I suspect most if not all the "revealing" scenes could be done "from the waist up" when necessary without too much awkward filming to avoid the nether regions as much as possible. And though this could still be the source of some untoward titillation, it is the sort of thing that discriminating viewers could get used to. I'm thinking of an Easter Island movie (can't recall the name at the moment) that involved a lot of topless scenes, especially of one of the lead characters. It was initially surprising, but by the end of the movie one was more interested in the story.

And by the way, I'm not at all sure that there wouldn't be a "cinematic" way around the question if a little creative thought were given to it (ha! it suddenly occurs to me to say "in order to avoid the "sin-ematic" aspect:-). Perhaps something along the line that the Green Lady's skin colouring and Ransom's "Piebald" burn, causing enough of a "shadowing" effect that with careful filming techniques might be able to effectively (and not corn-ily) disguise the delicate parts. Not sure, but possible perhaps. (but if it were successful, I could imagine an academy award for "best costuming", given the difficulties involved -- either that or "best editing":-)

But in the mean time, perhaps we can imagine that that particular aspect would not be a problem and consider other aspects of filming a movie of the book.

As a humourous aside, an interesting thought occurred to me that I would NOT recommend, but which I can't help mentioning. I'm thinking of a parallel to The Wizard of Oz where the parts that take place on Earth are in black-and-white while the parts on Perelandra are in colour. This is silly of course, but something along that line might be done. In another of our favourite movies, Enigma, in the director's commentary, he talks about the different film and colour techniques that were used to distinguish the flashback memories from the "real" scenes -- subtle differences that made the colours of one setting "richer" or alternatively more subdued than the other.

--Stanley
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Perelandra Movie thread - chapter 4

Postby Stanley Anderson » 12 Nov 2004, 15:48

In working on some general comments about chapter 4, I wondered, in the scene where Ransom is drenched in the bubble tree and it says "When he opened his eyes -- which had closed involunatily at the shock of moisture -- all the colours about him seemed richer and the dimness of that world seemed clarified", whether this might be filmed, again as I mentioned previously, with different types of film and colour methods to bring out a noticeable difference to the viewer before and after the drenching. It could be done effectively I think.

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Perelandra Movie thread ch 5

Postby Stanley Anderson » 01 Dec 2004, 16:56

One of the things I find myself doing while reading Perelandra -- especially from the point of meeting the Green Lady on -- is imagining someone trying to act the scenes of dialogue and expressions that Lewis describes for both Ransom and the Green Lady. I think it would make a very interesting acting exercise to try to reenact some of the scenes (I'm thinking of the dialogue and expressions, not the costuming here:-).

Obviously Lewis describes the Green Lady's expressions and reactions as sometimes being the sort of thing Ransom could not convey and beyond normal fallen human capability. But that is often what good acting is for -- to convey things that are normally difficult to express. I think that even for the "impossible" scenes, a hint of the ideas could be gotten across, just as Lewis gets hints of the unexpressible across in writing.

One thing I wonder though is if viewers not familiar with the book could be convinced by an actress portraying the Green Lady's seemingly spontaneous changes in manner, very serious and concentrating one moment, and then suddenly peaceful and lighthearted the next. Would they be able to realize that an attempt at portraying an unfallen creature might involve manners and changes of expression that we are not used to seeing in our fallen state. That of course would be one of (if not the) primary objectives that I hope any director would attempt to achieve.

Anyway, I find myself imagining each conversation and how best to portray or act it – a fascinating thing to wonder about.

--Stanley
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Guest » 01 Dec 2004, 17:36

What I want to know is, in which role does Nicolas Cage get cast?

:-)
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Of Frogs and Un-Man

Postby Kanakaberaka » 18 Jan 2005, 04:12

The thought of how the mutilated Perelandran "frogs" could be visualized with computer animation just occured to me while writing my study of chapter 9 this evening, Stanley. Ransom's reaction to the first wounding would set the stage for general revulsion at the act. Then the camera would pan the island to show the audience another mangled creature and then two and then four more untill the movie screen is filled with the happless animals in their torment. Then of course Ransom follows the bloody trail to find the Un-Man.
so it goes...
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Re: Of Frogs and Un-Man

Postby Guest » 23 Jan 2005, 20:55

I don't think you'd need to use computer animation; some convincing work with rubber or foam would yield a much more believable result, I think. I wonder, though, how would you get across on screen the concept of the breaching of innocence represented by the maiming of the frogs? The sight of a bloody frog doesn't usually inspire revulsion (maybe for it does for some people, but if you live in the country, you've seen cars do much worse damage to much bigger animals). How would you convey the damage to the purity of the world in a visual medium? I'm thinking you might even slighty distort the lens of the camera or maybe play with the colors to communicate the horror Ransom feels.
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Perelandran Road Kill

Postby Kanakaberaka » 23 Jan 2005, 22:49

trogdor wrote: I wonder, though, how would you get across on screen the concept of the breaching of innocence represented by the maiming of the frogs? The sight of a bloody frog doesn't usually inspire revulsion...


The secret, Trogdor, lies in the not so subtle "Bambi-ization" of the frogoids. It does not matter whether they are puppet-mation or computer animation. As long as they are given large soulfull eyes to convey an expression if pain to the audience, empathy should come through. Remember ET?
so it goes...
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Stanley Anderson » 24 Jan 2005, 17:35

In chapter 9 and the beginning of chapter 10 there are some very mythopoeic scenes -- ones that don't have any particularly "direct" meaning, but just seem to resonate with me visually as sort of surreal fantasy images and I would love to see them used to advantage in a film as simply visual imagery. Here is one just after Ransom has asked the Un-man if he rejoiced when Maleldil became a man and what profit he had when he made Maleldil and death acquainted:

In that moment that followed this speech two things happened that were utterly unlike terrestrial experience. The body that had been Weston's threw up its head and opened its mouth and gave a long melancholy howl like a dog; and the Lady lay down, wholly unconcerened, and closed her eyes and was instantly asleep. And while these two things were happening the peice of ground on which the two men stood and the woman lay was rushing down a great hillside of water.


what a terrificly surreal image! There are two similarly mythopoeic scenes at the beginning of chapter 10, each "seen" by Ransom at night during sudden flashes of lightning.

The flash had shown him the Un-man sitting bolt upright, the Lady raised on one elbow, the dragon lying awake at her head, a grove of trees beyond, and great waves against the horizon


And later, when she says, "I will go where the leaves cover us from the rain", we read this:

Every now and then there was another flash. one saw the Lady walking erect, the Un-man slouching by her side with Weston's shirt and shorts now sodden and clinging to it, and the dragon puffing and waddling behind. At last they came to a place where the carpet under their feet was dry and there was a drumming noise of rain on firm leaves above their heads. They lay down again. "And another time," began the Un-man at once, "there was a queen inour world who ruled over a little land --"

Hush!" said the Lady, "let us listen to the rain." Then, after a moment she added, "What was that? It was some beast I never heard before" -- and indeed, there had been something very like a low growl close beside them.

"I do not know," said the voice of Weston.

"I think I do," said Ransom.

"Hush!" said the Lady again, and no more was said that night.


Though it certainly has its bits of horror with the Un-man's presence and reactions, I simply love this scene (and the previous ones mentioned above) for its pure surreal visual power. They send thrills of I-don't-know-what-up-my-spine. I can see them just so clearly in my mind.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: Perelandra Movie thread

Postby Stanley Anderson » 25 Jan 2005, 16:03

Every now and then there was another flash. one saw the Lady walking erect, the Un-man slouching by her side with Weston's shirt and shorts now sodden and clinging to it, and the dragon puffing and waddling behind.


I forgot to mention in my previous post that this section above reminds me of a scene one might read Spenser's The Faerie Queen for some reason. Again, just the pure fantasy image of the scene.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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