I just found out that the movie based on Alessandro Baricco's novel "Silk" is about to come out. Somehow I wish that they had made another one of his novels into a movie. "Silk" is sweet but not my favorite... And seems quite complicated to get a good movie out of it.
"Silk" tells the story of a married silkworm merchant-turned-smuggler in 19th century France who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo of silkworms after a disease wiped out their African supply. During his stay in Japan, he becomes obsessed with the beautiful concubine of a local baron.
The book is very poor of dialogues, is all about feelings, looks. Plus they made a really weird casting choice. In the book the main character, Hervé Joncour, is 33 years old, for his part in the movie they chose Michael Pitt who's 26 and looks like he's 12. And they made quite a major change that is very likely to kinda ruin the whole "mystery" around the story: the concubine of the Japanese baron in the book is described as European looking (and that's why he's so charmed by her - he often wonders what an European woman is doing there, and when he's back in France and says that he saw an European woman, he's told that in Japan there cannot be an European woman), while in the movie she is played by a Japanese actress??? I mean, I thought that her being European was one of the main point of the book... if you take that kind of mystery away, you're left with either making up feelings and dialogues or ending up with a boring movie.
The first Baricco's "novel" that was made into a movie "La Leggenda del Pianista sull'Oceano", based on the monologue "Novecento" he wrote for a friend's play (it was then published and it's a very good read), is pretty amazing, exactly how I imagined it reading the book. So I'm a little sad that "Silk" doesn't really seem to be like the book... Too early to say anyway.
About his "Silk", Baricco says:
"This is not a novel. This is a story. It begins with a man that travels across the world, and ends with a lake that stays still in a windy day. The man's name is Hervé Joncour. The lake's no one knows.
You could say it's a love story. But f it was only that, it wouldn't have been worth telling. There are desires, and aches and pains, you know exactly what they are, but you can't find a real word to name them. And, anyway, it's not love. (This is an ancient thing. When you don't have a word to say things, the you use stories. That's how it works. Since many centuries.)
Every story has its own music. This one has a white music. It's important to say that because white music is a strange music, sometimes it's disconcerting: it plays softly and you dance it slowly. When someone plays it right, it's like listening to silence, and those who dance it very good, you look at them, and they seem still. It's a damn complicated thing, the white music.
Not much left to add. Maybe I should specify that it's set in 19th century: so do not expect planes, washing machines or psychoanalysts. There's none. Maybe another time."