reviews and The Girl on film

A writer for the Hindustan Times describes a trip to Stockholm to make the stations of the Millennium Trilogy, on a tour of sites relevant to the books. (I wonder if the Swedish Embassy would swing a trip for me? Probably not.)

Maxine is all thumbs – thumbs up for Henning Mankell’s The Man From Beijing, that is.  She thinks it’s unusual, ambitious, and marvelous –

Not only is the plot well-constructed in terms of the small-scale crime and the much larger, global wrongdoing, but I found myself being challenged by the various perspectives of the complex socio-economic issues facing the world as its population, expectations and technology develop while its resources become ever-more depleted. Henning Mankell is wise enough to know there are no answers, but by putting forward several views, both international and historical, he raises many thoughtful questions.

I wasn’t impressed by Tim Davys’s Amberville – at least, not impressed in a good way. At Reviewing the Evidence, I concluded it managed to be “simultaneously run-of-the-mill, quirky, and heavy-handed.” Gee, I really disliked that book, didn’t I?

The Miami Herald has a good interview with Arden Oplev, the director of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; apparently the sexual violence has provoked some controversy.

“Lisbeth has become an icon for women,” Oplev says. “She goes through this bad stuff. She’s abused . . . , but she never, ever becomes a victim. She fights back. She gets in your face.” . . .

“In the U.K. and the U.S. there’s been a stronger reaction about the rape scene than there has been in Europe,” Oplev says. “Certain critics, both male and female, seem to have gotten thrown off by the graphic violence against Lisbeth. They’ve not really understood the rape scene is made to make the audience uncomfortable. It’s of vital importance to me that it not be entertaining.

“In Larsson’s book, it’s a very important part of the story. The book is entertaining, but I wanted to keep the political edge of the subject of violence against women. I wanted Larsson’s vision to live on. I didn’t want it to become toothless. So I chose to make this scene really tough. But, interestingly enough, the scene does not show more than five seconds of the attack. It’s all preparation. . . . I wanted the audience to feel horrific. Rape is a horrific thing. I have a wife and two teenage daughters and a strong old mother who is 89 and was a feminist before the word was defined. She has OKed the film. I would hate if somebody thought I did that to exploit women.”

Peter is not looking forward to the Hollywood remake of the film. Neither am I, but I’m sure looking forward to the Swedish one.

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3 thoughts on “reviews and The Girl on film

  1. I enjoyed, “The Man from Beijing,” a lot. It challenged me. I had to think a lot about China obviously, about Africa and more. I felt like I was reading a polemic about China which was fine with me, having been interested in China for decades, and am interested to see what Mankell has to say. So I thought during the reading process. Afterwards, I gave it good reviews to friends and then moved on to a lighter book, but reading Mankell’s book was a plus in my reading life.

    Have not seen, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” yet, am waiting to go with a friend. Cringe at the thought of a Hollywood version. Why not just see the European version? Or do we have to have U.S. movie stars here? I was bothered by the terrible violence inflicted on Lizbeth Salander in the book, but knew that a reader had to know her background to understand her actions and reactions.

    I did feel a bit bereft thinking that there is nowhere in Sweden where abused women can go for help. Is that true nowadays? No shelters, no women’s groups, no decent advocates? Was it Salander’s choice only or did she really have no alternatives?

    In book two, I had to skip some of the scenes as I know myself; I’d carry the horrors with me for awhile so I skipped what I needed to, as did some of my women friend readers.

    It is tough sometimes for women to read about just horrendous violence against women, but Larsson did it to make points, I think, not just to write this stuff unnecessarily.

    I think he did understand misogyny and opposed it. Hopefully, everyone who reads the books and sees the movies will agree with his conclusions. In the best of all outcomes, more people will do something about this horrific social issue, support shelters, raise consciousness, get better laws, help women get away from abusive situations, etc.

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