ballet review, Multimedia Mondays

Multimedia Monday: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet review

Elena Lobsanova as Alice in the National Ballet’s 2012 production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: Bruce Zinger.

Few books have been adapted as many times in as many forms as Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From TV to movies to comic books to theatrical productions, from narratives that focus on the real-life relationship between Carroll and Alice Lidell to ones that are purely about the story itself, Alice has seen many iterations (just take a look at its Wikipedia page).

As source material for the wordless medium of ballet, this book might seem a difficult choice. After all, it is a work that defines nonsense literature and plays with words and with logic throughout. The National Ballet of Canada’s production is more than up to the task.

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movie review, Multimedia Mondays

Multimedia Monday: The dreamy, terrifying world of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi movie review

Starring Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Rafe Spall, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Shravanthi Sainath, Vibish Sivakumar, and Gérard Depardieu.

Opening November 21st, 2012

Read the review of Life of Pi, the novel, here.

Certain books are considered unadaptable to film. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, always been one of them. Two thirds of the book take place in a lifeboat, after all, following the survival of young Pi Patel and the tiger he is trapped with after a shipwreck claims the lives of his entire family and a host of zoo animals. Taking on the Everestian challenge to adapt the book because it is there to be adapted is director Ang Lee, possessed of remarkable vision and intuitive grasp of the nature and importance of storytelling. And what an incredible story he tells.

Lee maintains the novel’s narrative framework, introducing a nameless writer (Martel himself, in the book) who has been trying (and failing) to write a novel in India. He arrives at the home of Pi Patel on the advice of a friend he made in Pondicherry: if the writer wants a story, the friend promises that his nephew in Montreal has one that will make the writer believe in God. As Pi fixes lunch, he tells his tale. He begins with the origin of his name, adventures from his childhood, his growing fascination with world religions, and life as the youngest son of a zookeeper.

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