Book-to-film adaptations are something that have caused arguments and frustration to people since the inception of film. In the last two decades, some of the biggest YA adaptations have included The Fault in Our Stars, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight. These were (or, in some cases) are multi-million dollar box office hits with a cult following. They all have viewers asking the same question: Was the book better?
While we don’t know the answer to this for the books-to-motion adaptations on this list, on World Book Day, it seems only fitting to bring these to your attention.
- Pachinko by Lee Min Jin
When it comes to this novel, my complements go to the chef. Apple+ TV are working on putting Lee’s critically acclaimed novel onto our screens, and they’re bringing a star-studded cast in to do the job. More specifically, Kim Min-ha (Devs, Hamilton in Chicago) and Lee Min-ho (The King, Boys Over Flowers) will take part.
Pachinko is an epic saga covers 1910-1989, following a Korean family migrating to Japan. It’s a rich, well-woven story filled with engaging characters without a clear protagonist. While the book itself is dauntingly thick, its size shouldn’t put you off. it’s very easy-going and quite fast paced. The story highlights the racial discrimination that Koreans faced in Japan during the War. While fictional, it provides an insight of what Korean expats in Japan might have felt when they discovered that the Korean Peninsular was being split in two. These nuggets of history help the reader make sense of the world around them.
The first three episodes of this drama adaptation will be released on 26th March, with each subsequent episode being aired weekly until the big final on 29th April.
Watch the trailer below:
2. Painter of the Wind by Lee Jung-myung
This book sparked the creation of a drama by the same name staring Moon Geun-young and Park Shin-yang. It is fixated on the following question: What if the historical figure Yun-bok (a painter in the Joseon era) was actually a woman?
Both the drama and novel follow the fictional tale of Yun-bok disguising herself as a man in order to search for her father’s murderer. During her adventures, she meets Kim Hong-do, a master painter who becomes her mentor. A fun (albeit slightly dark) tale with an interesting and unique storyline!
3. [CONTENT WARNING] I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Kim Young-ha
Young’s novel was the direct inspiration for the 2005 drama My Right to Ravage Myself, which was directed by Soo-Il Jeon. The topics of this review may upset some readers due to themes of suicide – viewer discretion is advised.
They share similarities in terms of their focus on aestheticism, postmodernism and existential crises, but deliver this quite differently. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself discusses the ways in which humans use sex, art, obsession and death in order to create meaning in their lives, using the protagonist Kim to explore these themes. The film, on the other hand, follows a young man who makes a living helping people design their own suicide – he is caught by the former boyfriend of a woman who passes away due to his services.