”Les Miserables” was remade again in 2012. Since its release, it has received unanimous praise from all quarters. The global box office exceeded 400 million US dollars. At the same time, it also made a lot of achievements at the 2013 Academy Awards, and was nominated for 8 awards at the same time. She won three awards including Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Anne and Hathaway won the Best Supporting Actress Award, and the film also won important technical awards in the audio-visual category without any suspense. The success of “Les Miserables” marks the climax of the successful combination of a new classic literature and art and mass culture media, and also marks the artistic charm of classic literary works that are as old and new as old wines.
The success of “Les Miserables” is not accidental. In this remake, director Tom Hopper took the classic 20th century musical “Les Miserables” as a blueprint. Compared with the musical, it added many faithful plots from the original work, complemented by advanced modern movies. Technology and success; and the musical Les Misérables is based on the novel of Hugo, a great French writer in the 19th century. From the publication of the novel in 1862 to the release of the film in 2012, “Les Miserables” has truly realized the “trinity” from text art to music art to visual art in these 150 years.
Novels, musicals, Zhuyu first
As we all know, “Les Miserables” is a novel by the famous French romantic writer Victor Hugo published in 1862, and it is also one of the most famous novels of the 19th century. It mainly tells the story of Jean Valjean, a poor peasant-born worker in a French factory in the early 19th century. He stole a piece of bread in order to feed his sister’s seven children who were still to feed and was sentenced to five years of hard labor. He escaped four times, but was punished severely and spent nineteen years in prison. After his release, Jean Valjean was homeless, and no one was willing to take him in. In the end, he was instructed to find the home of Bishop Bian Furu, where he received warm hospitality. But that night he stole a set of silverware from the bishop and was caught by the police. The bishop rescued him, claiming that the silverware had been given to him by himself. After the policeman left, the bishop said to him: “My brother, I have redeemed your soul, I have rescued it from dark thoughts and self-defeating spirits, and handed it back to God.” Jean Valjean was touched and determined to Correct evil. Years later, he privately got rid of his parole status and came to Montreal to open a factory under the pseudonym Madeleine. In his factory, Fantine, a poor female worker, was deceived into pregnancy and gave birth to a girl, who was fostered in the house of a hotel owner. After her secret was leaked, she was fired from the factory, the hotel owner took the opportunity to extort money, and Fantine was cornered and forced to become a prostitute. One day, she hit a dude who insulted her and was arrested by the policeman Javert. Jean Valjean rescued her with all her might, and she was released. The police officer Javert once guarded Jean Valjean, pursued Jean Valjean after he escaped parole, and once suspected that the current mayor Madeleine was his identity after escaped parole; He was tried as Jean Valjean for his resemblance to Jean Valjean and sentenced to life imprisonment. Jean Valjean was reluctant to put the blame on others, and resolutely surrendered himself to the court. Javert put Jean Valjean in prison again. Fantine, who was seriously ill, saw the suffering of her benefactor, and her spirit was seriously stimulated. She left the world and left an orphan Cosette. Jean Valjean, who was again serving hard labor, took advantage of the opportunity to rescue a sailor and absconded from the sea. After he found Cosette’s adopter, he used a lot of money to take away Cosette, who had been abused and tortured, and then went into seclusion in Paris and continued to practice Bodhisattva. When Javert heard the news, Jean Valjean had to take Cosette with him. Special hid in a monastery.
In the spring and autumn, Cosette grew up and Jean Valjean entered old age. By chance, they met Marius, a young nobleman, and Cosette fell in love with Marius. In June 1832, the people of Paris carried out an armed uprising, and both Jean Valjean and Marius participated in the uprising. Javert was captured by the insurgents, but Jean Valjean was merciful and privately let the enemy who had been chasing him go. Due to brutal repression by the government, the uprising failed miserably and Marius was seriously wounded. Jean Valjean risked his life to rescue him through the underground canal. At the exit, he met Javert who was waiting here. Jean Valjean asked Javert to wait until he sent Marius home before arresting him. Javert was deeply impressed by Jean Valjean’s spirit of doing good deeds and sacrificing himself to save others for many years. Deeply moved, after letting Jean Valjean go, he threw himself into the river. After Marius recovered, Jean Valjean handed over all the 580,000 francs he had saved to Cosette, fulfilling her marriage to Marius, and revealing his identity to Marius. Marius was afraid of being implicated and neglected Jean Valjean, causing his body and mind to be severely damaged. When Jean Valjean was dying, Marius learned that he was his savior. He knelt down before the old man’s sickbed with Cosette and held his hand tightly. Jean Valjean passed away peacefully.
Hugo adhered to his consistent artistic principle in his novels, which was evaluated by later literary history as the “principle of contrasting beauty and ugliness”: “In modern poetry, you will feel that everything in all things is not beautiful in line with human feelings, and that you feel ugly. Beside beauty, deformity is close to beauty, vulgarity is hidden behind the sublime, evil and good coexist, darkness and light coexist.” In “Les Miserables”, contrast exists not only between objects, but also within the subject. Every character created by Hugo is not absolute Bodhisattva, nor absolute evil, but is closer to ordinary people in life. The characters in “Les Miserables” are all struggling between reality and ideals, vulgarity and nobility, despair and salvation, and they all have a kind of contagion that allows readers to find a little bit of their own shadow in each character. It is precisely because Hugo has reserved a huge space for interpretation of the novel in thought, that makes the novel have a timeless charm, and also makes the adaptation of later generations possible.
After a lapse of more than 100 years, the French musical composer Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Bobley co-created the musical version of Les Misérables. The play was premiered in Paris, France in 1980. It was originally expected to be staged for 8 weeks, but it was extended and performed for a total of 16 weeks. Because the schedule of the subsequent venues had been booked, it had to be down. Today, “Les Miserables” has been selected as “the country’s number one indispensable musical” by the audience of BBC Radio 2 in the United Kingdom. On October 8, 2005, the play was staged at the Queen’s Playhouse in London and replaced Andrew Tie Webber’s “Cats” as the longest running musical in the West End. Along with Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon, Les Misérables is considered the most influential musical in Europe since the 1980s. The success of the film adaptation is due to the high-quality musical as the foundation.
Film adaptations are the icing on the cake
Although novels and musicals come first, the 2012 big-screen version of “Les Miserables” still has new surprises throughout. The opening of the film can be described as unique, and the camera’s perspective from the bottom of the sea through the broken French flag renders a strong sense of epic. There is no detailed description of the Toulon prison where Jean Valjean was imprisoned in the novel, but the film has made a reasonable adaptation: Toulon is a port city, the first scene in the film is that many prisoners are pulling fibers in the port, and the stormy The special effects further set off their tragic fate, this intuitive visual; the impact force is impossible to achieve in other art forms. Likewise, the detail of Javert ordering him to carry the stout flagpole back when Jean Valjean was released was added, which the musical did not and could not express. Through this detail, it not only foreshadows the relationship between Jean Valjean and the French nation represented by the flag, but also lays the groundwork for the subsequent plot.
The advantages of the film are also reflected in the expressiveness of the panoramic scenes. It is most vividly reflected in the scene of Jean Valjean’s conversion to God and his rebirth. Compared with the inextensible space of the stage, the film is accompanied by Jean Valjean’s singing, the camera gradually zooms out from the tomb in front of the church, from the town to the green mountains and white clouds behind, with the case paper torn by Jean Valjean finally. Aiming at the sun among the clouds. This scene is grand and atmospheric, showing the turning point of the characters’ fate through space, implying that Jean Valjean’s soul has come out of the grave and won a new life. However, at this time, the camera suddenly turned, the case paper was blown away by a gust of wind, and the camera shot vertically downward again, accompanied by pouring rain and gloomy sky, which brought the story to Montreal nine years later. The change of light and dark not only eliminates the incoherence of the musical’s changing scenes, but also is full of rich meaning: the hope of eight years ago was doomed by a dark rain, and Jean Valjean’s fate is also doomed. mistaken. The depiction of the panorama of Paris, the film version has also achieved a combination of points and surfaces, complex but not chaotic. The action of the characters runs through the grand scene, and the specific characters and the grand narrative are seamlessly combined. Following the footsteps of little Gavrus, we can see the ready-to-go army, the cry of the civilians, the arrogance of the aristocratic class, and the enthusiasm of the revolting youth. What we see through the perspective of little Gavrus is the center of a storm, a submerged undercurrent.
In terms of character creation, the film absorbs the strengths of novels and musicals, and tries to introduce new ones as much as possible. In the handling of Fantine’s fate, the movie surpasses the musical version. Jean Valjean didn’t stop Fantine from being kicked out of the factory by the foreman in the musical version, and the show doesn’t give a reasonable explanation. The film version is more reasonable, because Jean Valjean noticed that Javert was looking at him upstairs and panicked for a while, so he did not rescue Fantine. This treatment makes Fantine’s fate even more profound. Her fate was changed by an accidental encounter, and her fate was so ruthless; and this encounter was destined, the contradiction and confrontation between the two characters with opposite identities and the classes represented by the two identities were unavoidable. Therefore, the fate of Fantine in the film version may seem impermanent, but in fact it makes sense. Through this detail, the film version better highlights the theme than the musical version: the fate of women and children was not guaranteed at that time, and they were always tragic and unfortunate.
At the same time, the design of Eponin’s character also strikes a balance between the novel and the musical version. Eponin in the original book is more selfish, even a little vicious. She hid Cosette’s letter to Marius and deliberately led Marius to the barricade in order to die with Marius. In the musical, Eponine is even more kind, screaming and warning when Jean Valjean’s house is robbed, fearing that Marius thinks she is an accomplice. In the new tour version, the musical also deleted this detail, making Aipponing a good woman who does not ask for anything in return. Ai Bonin in the film is between the two, retaining the details of the Tibetan letter, which indirectly determines Marius’ choice to participate in the uprising. This adaptation makes the characters more plump and real, and is closer to the aesthetic idea of the contrast between beauty and ugliness in Hugo’s original work.
For Javert’s image shaping, the film also pays attention to expressing his inner contradiction through the sense of spatial position. In addition to the above-mentioned Javert and Jean Valjean always constituting an upper and lower positional relationship, in Javert’s two monologue scenes, another metaphor of position – “edge” is used. In both of these scenes, Javert, in addition to being on the heights, hovers on the edge of the platform while making his confession. In this way, the inner contradiction is portrayed. When Javert committed suicide, the edge suddenly dissipated, and he couldn’t allow himself to sympathize with Jean Valjean, so he “escaped from Jean Valjean’s world” by dying. But in another sense, his fall from the high platform implies that he has entered the world of Jean Valjean, and he has exchanged self-sacrifice for the salvation of conscience. This profoundly reveals the consequences of ideology for human alienation, both within and beyond the margins. Javert’s fate is also a jigsaw puzzle of “Les Miserables”.
Small regrets do not cover up
Of course, no work of art can be 100% perfect. There are still some small regrets in the adaptation of “Les Miserables” this time, and some arrangements are indeed debatable. The connection between certain scenes could also be better choreographed. For example, after Jean Valjean adopted Cosette, the musical version cuts directly to Paris eight years later, while the film adds Javert’s pursuit of Jean Valjean. Although the film tries to express Javert’s obsession with Jean Valjean in a picture, it actually destroys the coherence of the narrative, and the plot of Javert chasing Jean Valjean on horseback in the city is a bit abrupt. . Another example is the aria when Eppenne fell into Marius’ arms and ended abruptly in the middle of the singing. Maybe the screenwriter thought that the strength of a dying girl in the movie would make people feel a little false, but it also sacrificed The shaping of the integrity of Eboning’s character.
Of course, these flaws are innocuous to the whole film, and they leave some expectations for more adaptations of “Les Miserables” in the future. As an enduring masterpiece, the story of Les Misérables moving forward with the times will not end in this film, and it will never end. No matter what kind of theme adaptation, “Les Miserables” as the core strength of a literary work is undoubtedly the biggest weight of success. Because in life we always have questions about love and freedom, and we always look forward to a bright future. On these eternal topics, as Hugo himself said: “As long as the social oppression caused by law and custom survives, it is impossible to artificially reduce the world to hell and to suffer the innate luck of mankind at the height of civilization. The scourge of avoidance; as long as the three problems of this century—poverty degrades men, hunger degrades women, and darkness degrades children—are not resolved; as long as social poisoning is possible in certain regions, in other words In other words, and in a broader sense, as long as there is ignorance and hardship in the world, then works of the same nature as this book will not be useless.”