Tag Archives: Literature

Film Review: L’histoire d’Adèle H. (1975)

THE STORY OF ADELE H - UK Poster

L’Histoire d’Adele H. (The Story of Adele H.) is a French film directed by François Truffaut based on the true story of Adele Hugo, daughter of Victor Hugo. Victor Hugo was one of the leading names in literature who is considered France’s greatest asset in poetry, novel and drama in Europe’s age of Romanticism. As much as father had earned a name of honor and respect in his field, his daughter met tragic fate for which she is known.

A British army officer loved and proposed her which she refused. Later she had a change of heart and travelled Halifax during American Civil War to declare but the soldier loved her no more after the refusal. That drove her insane and made failed attempts to win him. Her obsession increased and began showing signs of mental illness.

Yes François is hard to ignore in my reviews but first, the biggest plus was Isabelle Adjani‘s leading performance as Adele. It is hard to describe but she was very impressive in depicting different phases of one-sided affair. Her facial reactions, her eye-contact, her speaking to herself, her writing letters and so many demanding elements of this specific performance! The beginning of Adele’s frustration after the first scene of his refusal is the moment where her body language was so realistic, natural and with time, began to increase the level of astonishment. She was inclined towards the misery and more did she prove to be showstopper.

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Now the second credit goes to François, whose marvelous direction just propels you. With her quest of lost love, you are more obsessed than her to find out to what limit she will drop herself in hunger of winning his heart. The case is not only his direction but François’ collective belief on the-then 19yo Adjani. Keeping in mind, she wasn’t a popular name with very short number of films to her credit before making this. That is the quality and one of the most successful features of a director how he builds and maintains his trust on the leading actor for a certain film and that was the case of François himself. Take an example of his Antoine series in which he believed on Léaud‘s abilities to function the age-crossing role of Antoine Daniel to an extent that he went on to make five films in 20 years on his beloved character.

To my knowledge, this is the only known film based on Adele’s tragic story. You won’t see the character of Victor Hugo in the film but listen, and I think it makes sense. Besides Isabelle, all performances are below par but the viewers have no business to take a look on other performances than beautiful Adjani as Adele. The-then teenager Adjani was nominated for Best Actress in Academy Awards for this role despite being the role from a non-English film. She was the youngest to be nominated in the category by that time.

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A profoundly beautiful, tragic and dark film. Well done François/Adjani.

Ratings: 8/10

Book Review: Moth Smoke (2000)

Lahore
Mohsin Hamid

Let me be frank and perfectly honest that I am not a novel reader. But I began reading novels since Mira Nair revealed her intentions to make a movie on a novel written by a Pakistani writer. When I read the title of the book, it blew my mind. When I read its synopsis, it crew my find. My first novel-reading was Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. And I realized it was a perfect choice to begin novel-reading.

Now I have read the second novel, also written by the same author, with the impression that the writing will again be cardinal. Moth Smoke was Mohsin Hamid’s first book and was published back in 2000. The amazing feature of the writing truly is the expression of words one can sing the reality and stink the brutality. He will mesmerize you with the way he reviews nature, the lifestyle of Lahore, and the beauty of femininity. The way things began flowing from a smashing scene to a melo-rhythmic scene is very dramatic and hectic.

Set in the late 90s of Lahore during the times of Indo-Pak nuclear tests, a drug-addicted guy loses his job and enters into a love affair with his best friend’s wife. Life is screwed up, financially he is getting low, starving from his job, and getting more hungry for sex. It is a tremendous attempt of explaining human psychology and the way when things go wrong and misery propels you to commit wrong.

The best part is the impression you get from the writer being his first manuscript, how nurtured his pen grows to talk his story. The vocabulary of words and picking the lines to dramatize the scene and bring his nostalgia at any moment is very lively, choosy, and natural.

Creativity is astounding as the core characters are Mughal-era-tically named. Then the explanation of each character is beyond reality. Things work at ease for Mohsin, as the 245-pages book is an easy read and comprehensive divided into 17 chapters. Tumultuous applause for the writer!!

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