The Retrospective

The Retrospective

Book - 2013
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Unsettled during a retrospective of his early work, aging film director Yair Moses attempts to reconcile with the difficult but brilliant screenwriter from whom he is estranged, but the price that Trigano demands will have lasting consequences.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2013
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780547496962
Characteristics: 336 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Schoffman, Stuart


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Oct 31, 2014

I enjoyed this novel a lot. The fictional Retrospective in question, is of several early and mostly forgot films by an Israeli film director. The retrospective gathering is held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain where these film have been dubbed from Hebrew to Spanish at a film institute. The director and his long-time leading actress watch the films with Spanish dialogue which they can’t understand. They are forced to interpret the films based on the visuals and their hazy memories of the screenplay and the filming events.
I presume that the scenarios for each of these early career films are invented. The novel details the protagonists: the director, the screenwriter, the cinematographer, and the actors in the realisation of these early films. I appreciated the setting of the films over time in Israel, and then the unfolding of the novel in Santiago and later in and around Madrid.
A.B. Yehoshua tackles the issues of friendships, creativity, memory, Jewish-Arab relations and curiously the Catholic process of confession and absolution. I think the novel can be summarized to some effect with the aphorism: life is short, and art long, opportunity fleeting, experience perilous, and decision difficult. (from Wikipedia quoting Hippocrates)
The novel has a stunning conclusion that brings the themes of the novel to full fruition. I will seek out other works by this author. tfc


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