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The Proust Screenplay: a la Recherche du Temps Perdu Paperback – April 5, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Pinter, Harold
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (April 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080213646X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802136466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Summarizing Marcel Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu" is often seen as a hopeless endeavour, an undertaking so absurd it fit in perfectly with Monty Python humour and the reader must still be content with extracts of some passage or another unless he dares conquer the whole seven-volume masterpiece. In 1972, Nicole Stephane, who held the film rights to Proust's work, asked Joseph Losey if he would like to work on a film version. Losey turned to Pinter to write the screenplay, and THE PROUST SCREENPLAY was written over the following year.

The screenplay covers all of the Recherche, Pinter rejected any attempt to select one or two volumes as the center. The dramatic arc is twofold: on one hand the narrator moves toward disillusion in his personal life, but on the other hand all that has been lost (ultimately Time itself) is regained and then preserved permanently in the narrator's writing. The screenplay consists of 455 scenes, and just to give an idea of how compressed the narrative must be, the entire opening of "A la cote du chez Swann" up to "Un Amour de Swann" is represented in just fifteen pages of sparse script. But even with such trims, it is said that a film resulting from the screenplay would be about five hours long.

The action shifts among eras from scene to scene. Marcel sees M. Vinteuil's daughter and her lover in 1893, and in the next scene Albertine is telling him in 1901 of her esteem for the couple. Many scenes are single images. Scenes 134 and 135 are only of Saint-Loup looking at a photograph, 136 is only of an empty dining room in a hotel, and then 137 is of a band of girls on a cliff top in Balbec. However, there is a considerable amount of substantial dialogue here, especially in the tortured relationship of Marcel and Albertine.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. H OAKLEY on October 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
A screenplay of Proust's In Search of Lost Time sounds like a hopeless project. In the most recent translation, Proust's novel ran to over 4,000 pages. Reducing this to a screenplay would seem to require cuts of such magnitude that nothing of the novel would be left. Indeed, those movies that have been made of the novel usually are of a small part, like the Swann in Love section of Swann's Way. Pinter, however, managed to pull off the impossible. He concentrated on key events in the novel, and even more on key images. It is hard to say whether this would have worked with someone totally unfamilar with the material. However, presenting Proust's novel in any literal fashion would be impossible, and probably contrary to what he attempted to accomplish in his novel. Pinter's screenplay, for anyone who has read the novel, is a tremendous success. Unfortunately, it was never made into a movie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fineberg on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Harold Pinter's screenplay of Proust's novel is commendable. It does not try to cram too much in, but instead relies on a more imagistic adaptation. Raoul Ruiz's recent movie "Time Regained" wasn't dissimilar--although named after the last volume, it really drew from the whole work. However, I have to feel that even so, it was of little interest to those not familiar with the novel. I think a movie based on Pinter's screenplay, as good as the screenplay is, would suffer the same fate. It would be a visual tone poem for the Proust fan, capturing one thing but leaving out a dozen others. The meat of the novel is in the narration, and I'm afraid the best way to translate it to the screen would be through a miniseries, even a regular series. It's the only medium that stands a chance at duplicating the scope of the novel. One has to remember that its great length is no accident, it helps constitute the very nature of the story. Pinter ought to expand his screenplay, like Proust expanded his early drafts of the recherche, to give a greater impression of the time lost, and give it to the BBC or something.
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