Analysis of Novel:
The novel, told from the point of view of Tristram Shandy, describes the events mostly of his uncle Toby and his father, interjecting here and there bits of his life and others. In this book, Sterne brings readers through the rather comical tale of accidents that propel actions in a very anachronistic fashion, reordering tales and skipping time frames. By doing so, and by Tristram’s acknowledgement of the skipping of time frames, Sterne brings forth the question of the reality of time and chronology, and memory, and more importantly, story telling, the order in which our lives are told.
Analysis of Movie:
In the production of A Cock and a Bull, the use of metastories are significant to emphasize the anachronistic and messy style of Tristram’s story as originally written by Sterne. The film also allows audiences to connect further with Steve and see a disconnect between Steve and the character Tristram and the father, calling in to question the “believability” of the characters he has played, and asking the viewers why it is that fiction can be so believable even when it is obviously not true. By contrasting the life of Steve with the life of Tristram on film, one is more able to understand the story of Tristram by comparisons, such as the poignant moment when Steve holds Rachel’s baby in his hand but very rarely touches his own.
Analysis of adaptation:
The adaptation itself was cleverly done, clearly pinpointing the removal of the author from his own story. Most elements, though, were missing, but still mentioned. A story as disorganized and scattered, both in architecture and content, was told brilliantly through this adaptation by the use of a production crew acting as if they were planning the movie that the audience in the theater sees. The emphasis is placed on the retelling of a life that is successfully executed only with the help of many others compiling different elements of just one person’s life. It is the look in to the myriad pieces of a life and how the rest of the world identifies with it, and that the basis of identity is the identifier’s history.
In a personal interview with Coogan, Coogan reveals his thoughts behind difficulties in creating a film out of a novel that was considered unfilmable.
This article speaks of the comical effect that the movie has which is what makes the movie so enjoyable, despite the actions happening.
Richardson emphasizes the simliarities between Steve and Tristram and how the device of meta-fiction works in books and on screen.
Elaboration on 1.)
In Steve Coogan’s interview, he delves in to the difficulties faced while filming the creative yet complicated script of Winterbottom’s Cock and a Bull. He mentions the film within the film and having to play the parts of more than one character, and how confusing it became, having to discern which film crew was the real one and which character he had to become. He discusses also having to overcome the challenge of thinking the project is too hard, and how he and Winterbottom treasure and rather create difficulties to stump.
The intern Jenny is a budding auteur (or film professor!) who cites renowned auteurs Bresson and Fassbinder. Is the viewer meant to admire her or find her pretentious? What evidence from the film leads you to your conclusion?
Jenny’s knack for more or less rambling on about Fassbinder and Bresson and others seems to annoy the rest of the characters. In the scene in which everyone is sitting and Jenny describes in length Bresson and such, she leaves promptly because she realizes the tension of the rest of the people who are not responding to her. Inthe scene where she kisses Steve, she describes Fassbinder and Steve does not really have a response to her. This might be Winterbototm attempting to poke fun at those who are stuck in films, that their reality is rooted in a meta-reality of sorts.