Sunday, June 27, 2010
DISGRACE, by J.M Coetzee was a book I greatly admired. It's the story of a disgraced English professor in South Africa, whose humiliation only begins with his near rape of a student. He is unable to protect either himself or his daughter in the story that follows. It is a marvelously complex and brave novel that puts an unlikable person in harm's way and watches him squirm--and yet conveys some humanity in him. His daughter is complicated, too, and her decisions are not easy to understand. The situation in South Africa is likewise enigmatic to us. I didn't see how all this "complexity" could be captured on film.
And yet it is and by an actor I have no great liking for. Only someone like John Malkovich could bring the preposterous level of arrogance necessary to the story to the screen. It is beautifully, if bleakly, filmed.
Sometimes a film is as good as the book. What ones are the best?