Saturday, April 11, 2009

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Though I must admit I am not a fan of the book-series by Alexander McCall Smith, this 1-page article about its adaptation to TV on Newsweek was pretty interesting. Here we have people bringing up Slumdog Millionaire again, and how no one can actually paint a pretty picture of a place most people assume have gone to the dogs, so to speak. But I do wonder why on earth not? Just because a country has always been on the receiving end of a charity outfit doesn't mean it enjoys no rainbows.

Here's a bit I'd like to share from the article written by Joshua Alston:

With "Slumdog," much of the conversation hinged on the fact that both screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and director Danny Boyle are British—outsiders. McCall Smith is British too, as was the late Anthony Minghella, who helped bring "Agency" to the screen and directed the pilot. But whereas "Slumdog" was accused of offering a fairy-tale solution to Indian poverty, "Agency" will almost certainly be accused of ignoring Botswana's problems altogether. Both are willful misrepresentations of the respective countries and cultures they are portraying. In fact, the absence of the typical dark-continent viewpoint was what attracted Minghella to the project. "It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa, and not what we think we can teach it," Minghella said.

I learned in a Filipino writing class in my first year of college that in order to write well, one must know dalamhati (great sorrow). And the justification was that, in a country like ours, there's no other thing to write about. But I'd like to point out that, among all the (trash-able) pieces I came up with for that semester, the best was a children's story whose theme was optimism and unity--and none of the boo-hoo, woe-is-me dalamhati Filipino literature was said to be all about. That story is still in my files, and it needs a great overhaul, but I like it enough to still remember it, what, 6-7 years later?

I think there's always something sunny in everything, even the drabbest of days. And as lady detective Precious Ramotswe demonstrates--and Alston writes--"In the war that is life, there's no better weapon than an unwavering sense of optimism."

Advanced Happy Easter to all!


sunnyday said...

I can't wait to see this Agency because of what you wrote here! When do I get to read your class masterpiece, eh? ;-) You know that angst is not one of the elements I appreciate, so I'm sure to enjoy your story.

Ditto on the comment about learning from Africa instead of always thinking what it can be taught.

petrufied said...

i'll have to dig it out from some pile. but sure you can read it. must request you to keep in mind that i was first year college hahah!! :D

i'm interested to see the tv show of detectives agency too!