What connects Drive My Car to Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood? | Culture
Beep beep, yeah
Drive my car the new film by Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, has been well received in Cannes (five stars!) and has just landed in UK theaters. The âmysterious and beautifulâ story of a director grappling with art and infidelity is based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, from his Men Without Women collection.
Page on screen
There have been many adaptations of the work of the beloved Japanese author. A recent star is Burning, named one of the Guardian’s best movies of 2019 (streaming options here). The unsettling thriller moves the location of Murakami’s Japan to director Lee Chang-dong’s South Korea. Expect an evil performance from Steven Yeun (seen later in Minari).
Noise, fury, etc …
The film shortens the title of Murakami’s original short story, Barn Burning – and both nod to a story of the same name by William Faulkner, published in 1939. Faulkner is no stranger to cinema, either. ‘being turned to screenwriting for money during the heyday of Hollywood. (although he didn’t consider it as golden – Barton Fink of the Coen brothers offers a dark view of Faulkner’s experiences).
Get the Humph
Faulkner was one of three writers in the 1946 film adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, the gold standard for black detective mysteries – on the page and on the screen. The shadow cast by Chandler is big: Robert Altman’s polarizing / brilliant adaptation of The Long Goodbye (Rent / Buy on Amazon) updates Philip Marlowe’s character with an ironic, exhausted tilt – and a perfect dose of Elliott Gould from the 1970s.
After the detectives
Murakami said Chandler was his favorite writer – and translated his work into Japanese. Meanwhile, Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice riffed on LA detective fiction (and pretty much everything else) – Paul Thomas Anderson’s film version (streaming options here) came with a score of Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. The composer also wrote the music for the 2010 adaptation of Norwegian Wood, the 1987 novel that made Murakami a literary superstar. Between them, Jonny and Haruki have this matter sewn up.
Read Murakami’s love for jazz, vinyl, the Beatles and jogging is well documented: less well known is his extensive collection of T-shirts, the subject of a new collection of essays, Murakami T.
To eat Murakami’s characters eat a lot, which makes the reader want to eat too: start soaking up his debut novel After Dark, opening up in a Denny’s with an order of chicken salad and crispy toast.