Sebald on the Screen

(Dunwich Marshes, Suffolk, via WikiCommons)

Fans of WG Sebald’s melancholic masterpiece The Rings of Saturn will be curious to see how two English filmmakers have transposed the book for the screen. Sebald, a Suffolk-based German writer, had a meteoric rise to late-career literary fame cut short when after a car accident 9 years ago. In 1992, he undertook a walk for a few days through the Suffolk countryside following a spell in hospital. Although sometimes called a novel and sometimes a travelogue, the book that he wrote inspired by the walk is actually an innovative mix of the two. It remains unique simply because no other writer has ever matched its mix of gloom and dazzling learning.

The Rings of Saturn has continued to inspire writers and artists ever since. In 2007 seven British artists exhibited work inspired by Sebald and his tome. Now two documentarians - Stuart Jeffries and Grant Gee - have made a film loosely based on The Rings of Saturn (preview courtesy of the Guardian). The world premiere of Patience (After Sebald) takes place tonight at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, as part of After Sebald: Place and Re-Enchantment, a weekend-long programme of events exploring WG Sebald’s work.

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