Toronto Film Fest showcases literary tried and true

Fri Sep 7, 2012 5:48pm EDT
 
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Call it renewed appreciation for literary classics or merely further evidence of Hollywood shying away from unproven material, but this year's Toronto Film Festival slate is heavy with literary adaptations, some of which may make a splash during Oscar season.

"Cloud Atlas," and "Silver Linings Playbook," both based on recent best-sellers, are among the most eagerly anticipated titles set to unspool at the festival, which is considered part of the opening bell for the Hollywood awards season.

Classic novels, such as Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," are also experiencing new interpretations on celluloid.

Among the most eagerly anticipated is Deepa Mehta's "Midnight's Children," based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Salman Rushdie about India's independence from British rule in 1947 and subsequent partition of the country.

Tipped early on to be one of many Toronto entrants to be in contention for the upcoming awards season, the film has instead garnered shaky reviews ahead of its Sunday premiere in front of a festival audience.

The film "dawdles and fails to justify its two-and-a-half-hour running time," said the Hollywood Reporter, while Variety said it "feels like too much to take in all at once."

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All told, eleven of the 20 galas, the showcase films of the ten-day event, are based on an existing work such as a play or novel.   Continued...

 
Actress Kristen Stewart poses at the gala presentation for the film "On the Road" at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival September 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese