Director: Francois Truffaut
Writer: Francois Truffaut and Jean-Louis Richard
Cinematographer: Nicolas Roeg
by Susan Bartley
Truffaut’s attempt at an English adaptation of Bradbury’s novel is wildly disappointing. At no time does it feel like the genius director, but rather a desperate attempt to hurry up and make a movie without any attempt to integrate his own style or philosophy. I am partially forgiving given that the film was made in 1966. Yet it falls into the issues that most sci-fi movies from this era often do - it’s not a movie that tries to envision what life would look like in the future, rather it takes all the elements of the time and creates slight modifications. With the exception of the television that allowed for home broadcast, in which a person can be included within an interview or discussion by simply standing in front of their tv, everything else is aged to the point the hilarity. There are still phone booths, the firemen ride on the truck, the furniture and clothes all have the exact same 1960s look. And this is where I’m most frustrated. Why do people assume that the outfits and clothes people wear at a given period is the culmination of all trends which will never again change, shifting ever so slightly into a futuristic look? I think of the brilliant job Her (2013) did with updating outfits. Not calling attention or making fantastical suggestions, it was subtle, and when noticed, amazing. I couldn’t help watching this film thinking I’m in an alternative world where there are some new technologies, but other than that everything is the exact same as the time it takes place. And that’s where it’s even more shocking given Truffaut’s creative prowess. How could he have had such a limited imagination? In no way did I care all that much about any of the characters, the philosophies or implications.
Could this story ever be adapted properly? I’d assume it’d require an amazing visionary who’s willing to take risks with the base material. As the saying goes - bad books are easy to adapt, great books difficult. Or something like that. There’s no need to stick to the base material since there’s nothing that needs adapting. What it needs is a fresh spin. I’m anxious to see who takes who takes up the challenge.
BELOW: Firefighters riding on the firetruck to go and burn some books
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