The Two Translations

Posted on March 14, 2011 by Scott Esposito

First Haruki Murakami's novel Norwegian Wood was translated into English (and a bunch of other languages).

Now it's been translated into a different medium--film--and just released in the UK. And at least per The Guardian's summary it sounds like the translation has been a faithful one. The Guardian also gives the film high marks:

This movie is gorgeously photographed by Ping Bin Lee, and has a plangent, keening orchestral score by Jonny Greenwood. It rewards attention with a very sensual experience, although there might be some who, understandably, find it indulgent. Having watched it now a second time since its premiere at last year's Venice film festival, I find the film that came into my mind – apart of course from Twilight – was Wong Kar-Wai's romantic classic In the Mood for Love (which Ping Bin Lee also shot), about two people drawn together by their respective partners' infidelities. That has the same tragedy, irony and romance which combine to create a doomy eroticism. Norwegian Wood ignites its own fierce, moth-attracting flame.

As expected, the film is getting massive coverage (see the Literary Saloon's roundup). Murakami has long been a very hit-and-miss author for me, but I'll give Norwegian Wood credit for being one of this better books. It has a tight storyline and only three significant characters, so I could see this one being made into a fairly good film. (Books, in my opinion, tend to be hard to translate into movies; even short ones usually have way too much going on to make a good screenplay.)

 I'm guessing this will get a U.S. release date in the not-so-distant future.