Sep 242006
 

The last movie of the festival was Michael Winterbottom’s not exactly brand-new Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.

And quite a good movie it was, packed with quality english comedy actors. Steve Coogan was the star of the show, but adequately supplemented by the likes of Stephen Fry (in a criminally small role) and Mark Williams (one of the bespoke tailors from the Fast Show, for the uninitated). But it’s Dylan Moran who almost nicks the goodies as a modern doctor. Gillian Anderson’s screen-time in minutes is calculated in single digits.

But it’s the demented story that’s truly the star of the show. The original book is supposedly unfilmable, and the hardships of the crew attempting just that are documented here. If the narrative was occasionally hard to follow in Takeshis’, it’s utterly lost here. Amusingly so, the storyline never gets stuck, and the main ideas behind both the book and the movie are very adequately explained in the first fifteen minutes or so. The film clocks in at just over 90 minutes, and is enjoyable throughout.

The finnish translation had some strokes of genius in it. Starting from the subtitle of the movie, which is neatly given as a sonninjoutava heijaritarina.

Haven’t read the book, but based on the strength of the movie, I’ll certainly look into picking this up at the first chance. Ought to be out in one of those cheap-o Classics-series.

Recommended. And probably worth a second viewing, there’s just too many snide inside jokes that get missed on the first trip through.

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