"I hope you brought tissues," said Brooke Geahan, whose Accompanied Literary Society hosted a screening of Stephen Daldry‘s The Reader at the Tribeca Grand on Monday, Nov. 24. "It’s a crier!"
Mr. Daldry’s film is an adaptation of German writer Bernhard Schlink‘s bestselling novel starring Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, and 18-year-old David Kross. The story focuses on an underage boy’s brief affair with an older woman, who he re-encounters years later when she is tried for crimes committed while serving as an SS guard during WWII.
The Transom does not cry, but we noticed that a significant portion of the audience had, in fact, been moved to tears by the film’s end. Post-catharsis, the small crowd moved upstairs to dinner, where Ms. Geahan encouraged attendees to "get literary with a little bit of glamour" (a new motto, perhaps?).
We quickly noticed Harvey Weinstein, who was making the rounds in between Blackberry dispatches. "Aren’t there smart people you can talk to? I’m going to take you over to someone smarter," he said, leading us across the bar.
We suggested that he might also be smart.
"I’m not smart."
Rather than debate that point, we asked him how he had enjoyed the screening.
"It’s my movie. I’m buying it. I love it," he said, depositing us next to Mr. Daldry, the director.
We asked Mr. Daldry how he felt the screening had gone.
"Good. We’ve only just finished the film, so it’s a whole new experience… We’re just showing it for the first time so, it’s very interesting hearing peoples’ reactions to it."
We wondered if he’d noticed all the crying, which seemed to indicate a pretty strong reaction.
"Well, good, I would say! I never know what to expect when people watch the stuff I make, so I’m always really interested to see whether it has an emotional relationship to other people or whether it’s just me. Particularly a complicated, ambiguous story full of moral questioning that’s hard to fathom. It’s not a regular movie–it’s a very strange story. It’s just such a strange character."
We also asked him what he made of the potential Winslet vs. Winslet Oscar battle (she is also starring in the upcoming Sam Mendes-helmed Revolutionary Road).
"I hope that doesn’t happen, but who knows. I mean, Kate’s a wonderful actress. I think she’s great in this, and she’s great to work with. Awards are, you know…Awards are awards. You have to take them with a little pinch of salt."
Also present was the writer Francine Prose, who told us she had "enormous respect for them for doing this film at a point in history when Americans seem to want films about vampires, so it seemed courageous to be doing this now."
Later, Ms. Geahan thanked Mr. Weinstein (who eventually got up to take a call and never returned) for "making films I want to watch."
"He was the one who actually handed me The Reader," she explained. "He said, ‘You haven’t read this?’ and I read it and thought, ‘How have I not read this?’ Literature, charity, morality, that’s what we’re all about, my nonprofit. But above that, I have to thank the beauty that we have in all of us today. We have so many great writers and authors and people who really believe in literature."
Included in that group were social people Fabiola Baracasa, who was proud she had called the film’s final twist (we had not), and Emma Snowden-Jones, who, we learned, maintains a poetry collection on her Blackberry.