Archive for January 10th, 2010

Brief Interviews and Long Narratives

First things first: This is not going to be a mere excuse to tell you how much I like David Foster Wallace’s short story collection, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. For one, any loyal reader knows that already. Plus, I already have one series of posts where I write more than anyone should about something you almost certainly don’t like as much as I do.

No, this is more about a more general point, specifically the importance of a narrative arc. Even more specifically, about the importance of narrative arc within the context of John Krasinki’s film adaptation of Wallace’s short story.

Last year, John Krasinki released his directorial debut, an adaptation of “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.” When I first heard about this film, I was surprised, and not just because it associated one of my favorite things with one of my least favorite things. I was surprised because the story seemed to me, as it likely did to most people who had read it, unfilmable. It is, as the title quite literally states, a series of interviews with unnamed men. If there is any connection at all between these men and the interviewer, or each other, it is not mentioned or even really hinted at. The interviewer, in fact, never speaks and is not characterized at all; there is no indication that it is even the same person in each interview (the dates and times given for each interview actually suggest that there is no single interviewer). Continue reading