They say Video killed the Radio star –and then Youtube went out to kill Mtv– but the same cannot be said of movies and books. Even though there may be more people who would prefer to go to the movies than their local library, both the film industry and editorial companies engage in an interesting synergistic symbiosis, with Hollywood making millions out of the cinematic versions of best-selling novels, and the publishing of spin-off book series spawned by popular movies.
But what about movies whose center subject ARE books? The ones in which these precious forms of millenarian transmission of knowledge are duly praised and revered? That’s why I hereby want to invite all the Grailers out there to name their favorite Bibliophilic film; the one who manages to capture your passion for books, as well as our common fetishism for these marriages of pulp and ink –Srsly, what’s a better SMELL than that of a brand-new book fresh out of the printing press?
Since I’m the one proposing this game, allow me to start with my own personal favorite film of the Bibliophilic kind: The Name of the Rose (1986) based on the homonimous novel by Umberto Eco. Not only it’s one of Sean Connery’s best performances –and Ron Perlman is at his finest as Salvatore, the humpbacked heretic!– but it also shows how in the times full of superstition and ignorance of Medieval Europe, Christian monasteries became sanctuaries for many ‘forbidden’ books, which were forced to wait for a more enlightened age in order to acquire new readers.
I tried unsuccessfully to find on Youtube the scene in which William of Baskerville (Connery) finds the secret chamber inside the monastery with his pupil Adso (Christian Slater), and is overjoyed to be inside “one of the greatest libraries in all of Christendom.” What I found instead was the scene in which Baskerville is faced with the heart-breaking decision, of trying to choose which of the precious books to save from the fire started by the old, murderous monk, Jorge de Burgos.