To a God Unknown
I was all ready to post a video update about the tone and style of the film (essentially a book review of To a God Unknown) only to discover that the flipcam I was using ran out of battery early on in the 5 minute-long ode to one of Steinbeck's earliest and most disturbing novels. By the time the battery was charged I couldn't suspend my sense of reason long enough to try again. I'll try to sum it up here.
TAGU is John Steinbeck's second novel and it is probably also the roughest least-filtered expression of his perceptive gifts. It's a raw and mysterious exploration of personal spirituality and the different forms it can take in people's lives.
After reading it about two years ago I immediately attempted to adapt it as a short film. I couldn't get across the totality of it in that form but I could try and pry at the mystery at it's center- which I thought was worthwhile. What I got was an outline for a strange unrelated little film where the main character was a wooden carving and the story was mostly about frontier stand-up comedy. It was pretty difficult to get people interested. I abandoned it.
Shortly after that I started accumulating ideas for a longer film called FISTULA which is hard to describe briefly. It scared some people and felt like it would be impossible to make. While I was trying to make it more managable I removed more and more of the excess and one of things that dropped off was the idea of having invisible animals roaming around a place called "the slurrie". As soon as it was seperated from FISTULA it began to grow and take on a life all it's own. I saw it as a way to get people interested in working on FISTULA; if I had something small to prove myself then maybe they'd be willing to take a chance on this immense project.
About 3 months into working on "Something real" I realized that it owed a huge debt to TAGU. They are very different but the fears and the mystery at it's center are very similar. Both have beliefs that tussle with other beliefs and both end up taking a tragic turn because of it. What TAGU doesn't have is a herd of invisible animals that cause euphroria, also (and I may be biased) I believe that "Something real" is a bit more realistic than TAGU.
Everything else has receded. I will see this made. Somehow, some way.
I suggest that you pick up a copy of this wonderful and deeply unsettling book. You may regret it but sometimes we need a few regrets to anchor us in time.
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