A Conversation with Christos Tsiolkas Author of The Slap.
Stephen Romei, editor of The Australian Literary Review, called The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas: “a rare quadrella in publishing: a page turner that sells lots of copies, gets great reviews and wins literary awards”.
Recently I went on a movie binge.
What’s that got to do with Christos Tsiolkas you ask? Read on…you’ll see.
I love movies. I love going to them, reading about them and now, with the help of a grant I was given about a year and a half ago, I can say that I love MAKING movies too.
My binge started on August 26th and ran through Labor Day, September 6, a period of 12 days. During that time I saw eleven films. Most were in the theater but a few were on DVD. Once again I saw most, but not all, of the films at the Jacob Burns Film Center where I see most films these days. Many of them were NOT current releases but older films–some dating back to the 50’s (See my blog entry: Sam Fuller’s “Pickup on South Street”).
At the beginning of the binge the Burns Center was finishing up their month-long series called: The Big Score: The Greatest Heist Films. Over the course of the series I saw seven capers (three in “binge-time”) including The Hot Rock, Charley Varrick, The Killing, The Outfit, The Silent Partner and Reservoir Dogs (See my blog entry entitled: On Revisiting Reservoir Dogs). Then in early September the Center featured the work of Fatih Akin. Only one of the 11 films I saw during the binge was directed by him–though since then I’ve seen two of his other films: “The Edge of Heaven” and his newest release, “Soul Kitchen”. Fatih Akin is a brilliant filmmaker. A man who not only tells an interesting story but tells it in an interesting way. The first one I saw, the one that fell into my 12 day binge, was “Head-On”.
But Fatih Akin and his films isn’t what this blog entry is about. No, I think I’m going to let you discover his work on your own; but let me say that though I own hundreds of DVD’s I’ve gotten to the point where I now only buy the ones that I think are masterpieces of cinema–movies I’d want to see again and again–and I’ve put “The Edge of Heaven” and “Head-On” on my “must buy” list.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that as much as I love watching, reading about and making movies–I also love to talk about them. So when I read that Christos Tsiolkas spent his childhood in the library reading the movie reviews of Pauline Kael and James Agee I knew I had to somehow work the conversation around in that direction. I wanted to know if he’d seen “The Animal Kingdom” that takes place in his hometown, Melbourne, and what he would think of the idea of having Fatih Akin direct a movie version of The Slap…and…well, hear for yourself what Christos said.
I think you’ll find the conversation extraordinary. It originally aired on my radio show “Graffiti” on September 23, 2010.
This will not be the last time you’ll hear from Christos Tsiolkas. This is a gifted writer with many more books rattling around inside him.
Here is the list of the 11 movies I feasted on during my 12 day binge.
Pickup on South Street
The Animal Kingdom