Book adaptations

Making good books into films is an art in itself. We present our favourites that are particularly worth reading or watching. Enjoy!

L'amore molesto (1995)
Mario Martone
Italy
103′
The first novel by Elena Ferrante in the adaptation by Mario Martone. What happened to Amalia? Who was with her the night she died? Is Amalia, as the last hours of her life suggest, the woman her daughter Della has always imagined: equivocal, satisfied, predisposed to secret deviances and able to escape her husband's obsessive surveillance?
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The film adaptation of the first novel by cult author Elena Ferrante (published in English as "Troubling Love", 1992).
Transit
Christian Petzold
Germany
101′
The German troops are just outside Paris. Georg escapes to Marseille at the last moment. His luggage contains the legacy of a writer named Weidel, who took his own life out of fear of persecution. This legacy comprises a manuscript, some letters and the Mexican Embassy’s assurance of a visa. Only those who can prove that they will leave are allowed in this port town, and this means you need an entry permit from a potential host country. Assuming the identity of Weidel, Georg tries to obtain one of the few scarce passages on a ship. Talks between refugees take place in the corridors of his small hotel, the waiting rooms of consulates, and the cafés and bars down at the harbour. Georg befriends Driss, the son of his late comrade Heinz, who died whilst trying to flee. But when he meets the mysterious Marie, his plans change. Transit is based on Anna Seghers’ eponymous novel which she wrote in exile. The film is set in contemporary Marseille where these characters from the past move around. And so, refugees from back then meet refugees from today, history meets the present, and all of their stories combine to create one eternal transit space.
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Adaptation of the book of the same name by Anna Seghers (1944)
Kuessipan
Myriam Verreault
Canada
117′
Two girls grow up as best friends in an Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to stick together no matter what. But as they’re about to turn 17, their friendship is shaken when Mikuan falls for a white boy, and starts dreaming of leaving the reserve that’s now too small for her dreams.
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In her adaptation of the novel of the same name by Naomi Fontaine, Myriam Verreault tells the story of growing up between tradition and modernity in a humorous and touching way.
A cinematic reading of the novel "The Museum of Innocence" by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.
"Solaris" is based on the novel by Polish author Stanislaw Lem published in 1961.
Paterson
Jim Jarmusch
United States
118′
Paterson is a bus driver in the city whose name her shares: Paterson, New Jersey. Every day, he drives his route and observes the city as it drifts across his windshield. During his lunch break, he writes poetry into a notebook. In contrast to Paterson's steady routine, his wife Laura's world is constantly changing. New dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project.
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Based on the Paterson poems by W. C. Williams.
Compañeros - La noche de 12 años
Álvaro Brechner
Uruguay
117′
1973. Uruguay is governed by a military dictatorship. One autumn night, three Tupamaro prisoners are taken from their jail cells in a secret military operation. The order is precise: "As we can’t kill them, let’s drive them mad." The three men will remain in solitary confinement for twelve years. Among them is Pepe Mujica - later to become president of Uruguay.
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Based on the novel "Memorias del calabozo" by Mauricio Rosencof and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro.
Heroic Losers
Sebastián Borensztein
Argentina
115′
In a town in the Northwest of the province of Buenos Aires, a group of neighbors is organized to recover the economy of the area, but when the Corralito is implemented in the country and they suffer a fraud, their hopes disappear. Now, they will unite to recover the lost money and give the blow of their lives to their greatest enemy.
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Based on the novel by Argentinian writer Eduardo Sacheri.
You Will Die At 20
Amjad Abu Alala
Sudan
102′
Sudan, province of Aljazira, nowadays - When Muzamil was born, a prophecy by the holy man of the village predicts that he will die when he is 20 years old. Muzamil’s father cannot stand the doom and travels away from home. Sakina, as a single mother, raises her son with over protection. One day, Muzamil turns 19.
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Based on a short story by Sudanese writer and activist Hammour Ziada
Les hirondelles de Kaboul
Zabou Breitman
Afghanistan
81′
Summer 1998 - Kabul under Taliban rule. Zunaira and Mohsen are young and in love. Despite the daily violence and misery, they hope for a better future. One day, a foolish gesture causes life to take an irrevocable turn.
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The film is an adaption of the novel of the same name by Yasmina Khadra.
La paranza dei bambini
Claudio Giovannesi
Italy
111′
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Based on "The Piranhas: The Boy Bosses of Naples" by Roberto Saviano
Il mangiatore di pietre
Nicola Bellucci
Italy
104′
Cesare, a former human trafficker, finds the corpse of his nephew Fausto a remote Piedmont valley. In search of the murderer, he himself is suspected. He is also pressured by a young, rebellious villager: Sergio, who wants to escape from the valley and his father, wants to bring refugees abandoned on an alp across the border. In order to help the boy and the refugees, Cesare confronts his fate…
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Based on Davide Longos novel.
Mein Lotta-Leben
Neele Leana Vollmar
Germany
93′
Based on the bestselling children's book by Daniela Kohl, the movie tells the story of six-grader Lotte and her best friend Cheyenne.
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Based on the popular bestselling children's book series "My Lotta Life".
with bonus
Hyènes (1992)
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Senegal
111′
In Colobane, people expect the return of Linguère Ramatou, a former local girl now rumored to be richer than the World Bank. But her generosity has its conditions: she offers a check of ten billion for the death of Dramaan Drameh who refused to admit that he was the father of her child 30 years ago. "Life made made me a whore, now I'm turning the world into a brothel" she tells the citizens of Colobane.
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Adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Swiss-German satirical tragicomedy play The Visit
Winter Sleep
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
196′
Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities...
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Adapted from the short story, "The Wife" by Anton Chekhov and one subplot of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Based on the 2015 novel The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão by Martha Batalha.
The drama is based on an autobiographical book of the same title by Gavino Ledda.
It was adapted from the 1950 novel The Sea Wall by Marguerite Duras
The mirror - Zerkalo (1975)
Andrei Tarkowski
Russia
107′
Alyosha, a 40-year-old filmmaker, falls seriously ill. He remembers his past and collects the memories that marked his life: the house of his childhood, his mother waiting for the improbable return of her husband, the poems of his father, his wife and his son that he has not seen for a long time, the tumult of the Second World War.
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It is loosely autobiographical, unconventionally structured, and incorporates poems composed and read by the director's father, Arseny Tarkovsky.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
136′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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The film is based on the 1923 memoir Dersu Uzala by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev.
La chambre bleue
Mathieu Amalric
France
75′
A man and a woman make love secretly in a room. They desire each other, want each other, bite each other occasionally. Sweet fleeting moments at dusk. At least that's what the man thinks they are. For his fifth feature film, actor and director Mathieu Amalric adapts the exciting crime novel LA CHAMBRE BLEUE by Georges Simenon. Playing the story of Simenon in the 60's, Amalric has placed his version of it entirely in the present.
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Based on the novel The Blue Room (1964) by Georges Simenon.
Based on the novel of the same name by Lukas Hartmann.
Reminiscent of the world-famous medieval book "The Necklace of the Dove - of Love and Lovers", the Tunisian filmmaker describes contrasting facets of love, for which the Arabic language knows has sixty terms.
Am Hang
Markus Imboden
Switzerland
95′
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"Am Hang" is based on the novel of the same name by Markus Werner, which has been translated into 16 languages and has sold 450,000 copies in German-speaking countries alone.
Film adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Paul Ilg from 1914.
Based on the book "Ciencias morales" by Martín Kohan (2007)
Precious (2009)
Lee Daniels
United States
105′
Claireece 'Precious' Jones is sixteen and far from having a nice life. Her mother abuses her, her father has impregnated her for the second time, she is severely overweight and can neither read nor write. But one day she gets the chance to break out of her dreary everyday life. At an alternative school she can catch up on her graduation and experiences for the first time what it is like to be respected and loved by others.
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