Saturday, March 11, 2006

Stone Reader

"Mark Moskowitz’s Stone Reader is, quite simply, an unalloyed treasure for any viewer who has ever felt transformed by reading a good novel. The irony is that this film, with its technologically subversive passion for print literature in an age supposedly suspended somewhere in cyberspace, has been brought to the screen by a media person par excellence: a maker of television commercials.
When, at last, he’s ready to deliver the solution to the cultural "crime" of literary annihilation, Mr. Moskowitz does so with an overpowering emotional kick that left me close to tears: Here was a supposedly defeated human being without a trace of bitterness or self-pity. Very real indeed, with a vibrant and active mind, Mr. Mossman is a sublime reminder of how much we owe to the good and great writers who have enriched our existence.
I’ve often written that the cinema will never die. Mr. Moskowitz gives us hope that the novel will never die either, and that books will never become technologically obsolete. Stone Reader is more than a film—it’s a labor of love in the best sense, and a gift to civilized life on this planet."

I found this apparently truncated review of the film "Stone Reader"today by Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer, and thought that it perfectly compiled my feelings about the film. If you are a bibliophile, a lover of books and reading, then you will relate with this film. It was made a few years ago by Mark Moskowitz, and in short, it's about a book Moskowitz began to read in the '70's, but did not finish. Later in life, he reads the entire book, and is stunned by quality and power of the novel. Moskowitz decides that he must locate this "non-famous" author, to see what has become of him. What follows is the film itself, as Moskowitz begins a quest across America to locate the author of the book, "The Stones of Summer". It is indeed a very touching film, one that probably only the book lovers will understand.

As I say, the film is powerful. I too, later tried to read the book, and like Moskowitz, could not really get into it the first time around (and I had a lot of school stuff at that time to do also). I probably will also attempt it once again, but in any event, the film itself is really an ode to the life of reading and writing, those joys that many of us can remember from almost as early as we have any memories at all, and that live with us right up until this very moment.

I lent the DVD to a friend and filmaker who is now on a tour of their own across America. As it is not necessarily the easiest film to get a hold of, I do hope that I get it back one day! I guess that I just felt that the power of the impact of the film, outweighed even the risk of losing it. Films are replaceable, impacts though, last a lifetime.


Blogger willowtree said...

I like that last line. I think it's so true. I'd never heard of the book or the film, I'll look into it though.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Thanks. It kind of just came to me at the end of writing that. The book itself is this big, epic story, but the movie is really about the love of books, with this one book serving as an example. Definitely try the movie first, if you're able too.

12:46 PM  

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