Screen to Screen: The Accursed Kings

I probably love the 2005 French mini-series adaptation of The Accursed Kings better than the book

In what I promise (sort of) is my last swipe at the end of Game of Thrones, the 2005 French mini-series adaptation of Maurice Druon’s The Accursed Kings series is a prime example of the benefit of having a completed book series to adapt. Hindsight allowed series director Josée Dayan and writer Anne-Marie Catois to make well thought out choices about what to keep and what to change. Their choices were validated by the viewership. The mini-series was a huge hit when it was broadcast in France.

But that’s not to say they played it safe. Indeed, some of the directorial choices were exceptionally “out there” for a period piece. While that might turn some people off, I loved it!

The Accursed Kings, Part I

Epic medieval saga? Check. Long delay between books? Check. Lavish TV adaptation? Check. The Accursed Kings was everything I wanted for a post-Game of Thrones / pre-Winds of Winter fix

When a new English translation of The Accursed Kings series of historical novels was issued in 2013, George R. R. Martin contributed the foreword. He called it “the original game of thrones.” It’s easy to see the connection. Political machinations. Sexy intrigue with murderous results. Feudal families clashing, their bonds tested and frayed.

While the events of The Accursed Kings, taking place in France over the first half of the 14th century, are in the history books, it’s author Maurice Druon’s particular telling that makes it so influential.

But the big question is, does it fill the Game of Thrones shaped void in your heart?

Screen to Screen: High-Rise

The film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic satire loses the plot, literally.

I have been slogging through one hell of a blogging slump. So I was lucky that a recent family outing to The Incredibles 2 inspired me with its retro-futurist look, a vision of modernity that takes its cues from 1950s sci-fi. It brought to mind another retro-futurist movie I caught up with recently: High-Rise, Ben Wheatley’s 2015 film based on the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name.

Pixar’s animated movie uses a joyful, colourful palette to set the tone for it’s superhero adventure. Meanwhile, High-Rise‘s vision of the future originates from the 1970s, when the book was written. It utilizes the concrete slabs of brutalist architecture to express its themes.

The reason I’m fixating on the look of High-Rise is because there’s not much substance to it. Most of the book’s story elements and pointed commentary on classism and capitalism have been stripped away. It’s left a film that’s a delightful sensory experience, but not much else.