His most psychologically fulfilled characters look to transcend their physical surroundings, however hostile, by embracing them. The abstract lexicon in the story evokes a prison — there are mazes, blocks, bunkers, cells, corridors, aisles. His mind jumps from one fractured event to another in a kind of short circuit.
Dante Alighieri – Dissection of a Misanthrope
There is no past, no future — just an endless, eventless present. He chooses to stay there with the ever intensifying hallucinations of his dead family rather than be rescued, and he hides from a search team when they come on to the island.
In the chilling novella Running Wild , set in a suburban gated community in Berkshire, the lives of the residents are a paralysing middle-class carousel of ordered sterility. Ballard details how this terminal boredom leads affectless children to kill their parents — and get away with it. Though Ballard was not a political writer in a narrow party sense, it can certainly be read as a premonition of the selfish Thatcherite society to come — a man-eat-dog society as well as a dog-eat-dog one.
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High-Rise has a clearly Freud ian element to its three main protagonists. The tower block and the wider city are conceived of as living organisms, of having a consciousness of their own. Newman, like Jane Jacobs before him in The Death and Life of Great American Cities , argued that urban violence can be mitigated by designs and layouts that exploit the natural surveillance of open spaces inside and outside buildings, something that high-rise buildings notably lack.
Its architect, Erno Goldfinger , like Royal, lived in one of the penthouse flats shortly after its completion but moved back home to Hampstead after only a few months. An early Paul Mayersberg script set it in the middle of the desert in Arizona, and a more recent adaptation for the director Vincenzo Natali had it located on a floating Burj Khalifa -like megatower — all of which, curiously, was to miss the central point that the building is mentally, rather than physically, cut off from the city; the structure turns its back on the metropolis by choice not circumstance.
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The idea of a book looking to a future that has already happened and making a film looking back to the past to show a possible future was interesting. The brain of the building goes nuts.
Architecturally, the thing that interested me was the pre-stressing technique with cables. From the adapting - and, more specifically, updating - standpoint, it has two key elements in its favour.
David Thewlis And His Hopeless, Hilarious Fiction
First, the sexes are as equal in it as you will find in any French play of the period. She is thoroughly independent, a widow with her own financial means, who entertains - whether innocently or not is never quite made clear - a steady stream of lovers.
In this respect, the play is absolutely modern. Already, then, one crucial obstacle to updated adaptation has been removed. For a contrast, consider Tartuffe, in which Marianne's subjection to her father's authority both psychologically and economically based is one of the key drivers of the plot, and nothing can be done about thwarting Tartuffe's evil machinations until the head of the household, Orgon, has been got onside. Such features render modernisation more or less impossible.
The Misanthrope's central conceit of sincerity and honesty versus dishonesty and hypocrisy is as important today as it was when the play was written three and a half centuries ago. In this post-Blair era of spin, the themes of sincerity, truth-telling and trust are as vital as ever. There was one more target I had in my sights when I prepared my version - political correctness.
Not only is he honest to the point of rudeness, but he succeeds, very nobly, in being rude to all the wrong - the best-connected and most dangerous - people. Would he, for instance, be ready to tell the most flawed people he knows exactly what their failings are, no holds barred?
Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy (Representations, Book No 3)
Through his honesty, unwise though it may sometimes appear, Alceste really does earn himself heroic status, and he is as much a hero for our own times as he was for those in which he first appeared on the stage. One touchy twerp can sometimes be Death to a man's entire career Topics Books.
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