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World Book Day: 5 Releases Inspired by Literature

Literature and film have long worked together for a timeless connection. From classic novels to modern stories, filmmakers are known to bring written tales to life. In this round-up, we look at this season’s cinematic tales inspired by their literary counterparts. From the satire that inspired Emerald Fennel to the novel that sits at the heart of All of Us Strangers, these stories transcend mediums and genres.

Poor Things | Yorgos Lanthimos

This much acclaimed film is based on on a 1992 novel of the same name by Scottish author Alasdair Gray. It tells the fantastical tale of a woman who takes her own life and is revived by a Victorian surgeon who replaces her brain with that of her unborn child. The title, inspired by gothic fiction such as Shelley’s Frankenstein, went on to win the Whitbread Award and Guardian Fiction Prize.

Saltburn | Emerald Fennell

The divisive film of the year has undoubted roots in Evelyn Waugh’s esteemed Brideshead Revisited (1945), a book that tells the tale of a middle-class man who befriends a wealthy socialite at Oxford. It recounts the rural England of stately homes and upper-class people, all the while showing the darker side of class.

The Zone of Interest | Jonathan Glazer

The BAFTA-winning film is based on Martin Amis’ 2014 novel of the same title. It tells a darkly violent love story, recounting the tale of Angelus Thomsen, a Nazi officer who falls in love with Hannah, the wife of Auschwitz commandant Paul Doll. Glazer adapts the text, bringing it to life in a wholly new way, showing the quiet, horrific banality of living in a fascist regime.

American Fiction | Cord Jefferson

This comedy-drama sees its roots in Percival Everett’s Erasure (2011). It follows a frustrated writer-professor who writes an outlandish satire of stereotypical “black” books, only for them to be mistaken by the liberal elite for serious literature: published to critical praise. Both film and book confront contemporary culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous generalisations.

All of Us Strangers | Paul King

This British romance starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal is an adaptation of Taichi Yamada’s 1987 novel Strangers. The book follows a solitary middle-aged screenwriter who re-encounters his long-dead parents and begins paying them regular visits while developing a relationship with a woman in his building.

Submit Your Film to Screen at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2024

  1. Emma Stone in POOR THINGS. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.
  2. Saltburn (2023), dir. Emerald Fennel
  3. The Zone of Interest (2023), dir. Jonathan Glazer
  4. American Fiction (2023), dir. Cord Jefferson
  5. All of Us Strangers (2023), dir. Paul King