Watch the ‘White Noise’ novel and film side by side

Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name. <화이트 노이즈>is the result of faithfully following the original work. The film takes the same composition as the novel, which is divided into three parts, and brings not only the description of major events and scenes, but also a large part of the characters’ lines from the original work. However, despite the high rate of <화이트 노이즈>The adaptation of still seems to be far from the novel. This is because, as is well known, DeLillo’s novels have difficult conditions for film adaptation. The contents of the novel can be largely divided into two layers. An existential concern about the landscape of small and medium-sized American cities where meaningless information and consumerism systems like white noise have replaced reality, and the fear of death latent beyond that landscape. If the former requires a position of cultural criticism that analyzes the phenomenon while keeping a distance from the subject, the latter requires a drama of psychological sympathy and empathy toward the character. therefore <화이트 노이즈>The problems faced by the adaptation of can be summarized as follows. Can a film montage landscape and existence, criticism and drama?

Noah Baumbach’s <화이트 노이즈>It is the opening scene that shows a stark difference from the novel. The novel begins with Jack (Adam Driver) watching a procession of station wagons visiting the dormitory for the start of the semester, but the movie first shows Murray (Don Cheadle)’s car crash seminar mentioned in the third part of the novel. Murray shows conflict scenes in American B-movies and says we should see “American optimism” instead of violence. According to him, all car crashes are always intended to show improved film technology, and therefore the site of this crash is a festival ground that reaffirms the traditional values ​​and beliefs of progress. It can be misunderstood as the meaning of enjoying the spectacle of violence, so Murray’s words, which are somewhat uncomfortable, are that we should face up to the violence shown in the video is a virtual reality that can be replaced with the myth of technology at any time. To sum it up, you could call it ‘a strategy to virtualize reality’. As his words imply, <화이트 노이즈>In the landscape of small and medium-sized American cities in the 1980s, virtualized reality overwhelms reality, such as radio and television, shopping centers, and disaster simulations.

On the other hand, Murray’s lecture is also a preview of what will happen later in the film. When a freight train loaded with hazardous materials collides with a truck and smoke black as death rises, this scene overlaps with the previous crash scenes shown by Murray. People accept this man-made disaster as a virtual and synthetic disaster. Let’s look at people trying to use the toxic gas leak as a model for simulation, or the excitement of Jack’s children in front of the spectacle of disaster. <화이트 노이즈>The opening of

prepares the landscape of an era in which hope is fabricated while virtualizing disaster through the medium of movies.

One morning, Jack wakes up and sees the silhouette of a suspicious person in his room. The mysterious figure who appears meaningfully in front of Jack is a setting not found in the novel. Of course, at the end of the film, it is revealed that this man was ‘Mr. Grey’ involved in the plot of the pill Babette (Greta Gerwig) takes. The man also seems to be the embodiment of Jack’s existential fear of death. After a toxic gas leak incident, Jack is sentenced to exposure to toxic substances and lives a life close to death. But even before his accident, Jack had a vague fear of death. “Some people are bigger than life. Hitler is bigger than death. You must have thought he (Hitler) would protect his teacher (Jack).” Murray saw the fear of death latent in Jack’s unconscious like white noise, and saw Jack trying to disguise his fear as Hitler’s presence. The film explicitly tries to overlap Hitler and Jack. In the scene where Jack is giving a lecture, the projector’s light projecting Hitler’s face falls precisely over the outline of Jack’s face. It is a form of expression unique to the film that does not exist in the novel.

novel cover.

<화이트 노이즈> If the whole story is narrowed down to the story of the family, it can be roughly summarized as the journey of Jack questioning the identity of Babette’s medicine and facing the truth. Dyla, a drug delivery system with advanced technology, is a drug designed to eliminate the fear of death. Babette was selected as a clinical trial subject because her fear of death was more severe than others, and obtained Dyla through sexual dealings with Gray, who was in charge of her. After learning the truth about her, Jack visits the motel with a plan to murder Gray. In the novel, Jack endures all the incidents and settlements alone, but not in the movie. The moment Gray pulls the trigger at Jack, Babette suddenly appears from behind Jack. The two men deal with the crisis together and restore their estranged relationship by shedding blood side by side. The film is the result of a choice that puts weight on a family drama rather than an individual’s existence.

Meanwhile <화이트 노이즈>The final destination in both the novel and the movie of <#2> is the supermarket. The supermarket is a place to recover the wounded soul of capitalism surrounded by preconscious pleasures. However, at the end of the novel, the supermarket is subtly different. The shelf was changed without notice. People wander among objects, losing their sense of direction and position in front of an unfamiliar shelf. Meanwhile, instead of hinting at signs of neoliberalism like in the novel, the film arrives at a nihilistic ending that urges us to return to the middle of the supermarket and forget about death. There are no wrinkles of existence to be found in the virtuality maximized in the exaggerated gestures of people walking around the supermarket repeating the set choreography. The Reagan administration period in the 1980s, when the novel was written, and the current post-pandemic period are quite similar in that they suffer from a rapidly conservative society and various conspiracy theories. However, there is an irreversible difference in the type and nature of the media through which the spirit of the times is propagated. Therefore, Baumbach’s montage overlapping the 1980s and the present America will inevitably cause faint white noise.

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Jack wakes up from his dream and hears Babette’s voice chanting “panasonic.” Coincidentally, what you see at this time is an electronic watch with the Panasonic logo on it. Panasonic, the name of a Japanese electronics company and a transnational trademark, also means that all sounds can be heard, and here it also implies ‘the sound of panic’. What gives the capitalist word such a significant moment is <화이트 노이즈> It also resonates with the aesthetics of the whole.

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