My third in a trilogy of White Nights adaptations. I belatedly discovered that James Gray’s Two Lovers is also a loose/partial adaptation, too late, will save it for my next Dostoevsky binge. All three are set in their own present-day, displaying current technology – Bresson’s tape recorder, Visconti’s jukebox, now Vecchiali’s cellphone.
He’s nasty in this one, but after a prologue where he insults an older man, he meets the girl and the dialogue veers close to the original. Video-looking long takes here, the actors standing still, one of them usually hidden in shadow. Besides the phone, her backstory monologue is interrupted by a couple things. Her voice fades out into the waves, then back in, repeating from earlier than where we left off but with the camera on him instead, reminding me of the Francisca repetitions. Also, he starts correctly guessing details of her story, as if he’s read this book before.
The long dance scene seems to reference the Visconti more than the novel. A b/w sidetrack conversation between him and his stepmom feels like filler, even if it does reference the cobwebs from the story and prove he wasn’t lying about being named Fyodor.
This played Locarno with La Sapienza and Horse Money. Vecchiali is a lesser-known Cahiers critic-turned-director, and I’ve heard his 1970’s work is good. Our lead actress is a Vecchiali regular, and our guy played the two Remis in Two Remis.