A couple of days ago I spoke to a fellow filmmaker and friend. Amongst other things he asked me which would be my DREAM film to shoot. My immediate reply was “Adam and Eve” a novel wrote by the Romanian writer Liviu Rebreanu. I want to explain the reason why I like this book so much. So I’ll kind of make a very very subjective review. Don’t expect much, this is still a ramble.
I’m not a big fan of Rebreanu, but this book made me change my opinion of him. Reading “Ion” and “Pădurea Spânzuraților” – which roughly translates as “The Forest of the Hangmen” left me with a terrible aftertaste. They are good books, don’t get me wrong, but they’re a bit hard to swallow.
Don’t get fooled, while “Adam and Eve” is mainly a story about the reincarnation of the original couple and their search for each other, so basically: a love story; STILL it is not, and I repeat it is NOT for the fainthearted. Keep in mind that this novel revolves around the idea of reincarnation, so … implicitly the main hero has to die at the end of every chapter, every chapter being another life set in another era and civilization. Some of these deaths made me, yeah ME, cringe. I’m not the cringy type, some of you might know how dark I am, but, damn, some of the passages in this book were gut-wrenching.
7 chapters – 7 lives – 7 civilizations – 7 eras – 1 couple – for me personally it was the recipe to success, it managed to keep me not only interested, but craving for more.
Setting: Hastinapur, India, ~500 BCE.
Him: Mahavira, an Indian shepherd.
Her: Navamalika, a virgin promised to King Arjuna.
Setting: Nu-Ptah, Abotu; Ancient Egypt
Him: Unamomu, an Nomarch.
Her: Isit, lover of Pharaoh Dadefra.
Setting: Babilu, Nippur; Mesopotamia, ~1700-1600 B.C.
Him: Gungunum, son of the great Pidur Libur.
Her: Hamma, daughter of Ahnuri.
Setting: Antium, Rome; Roman Empire, ~42 B.C (Time of Tiberius)
Him: Axius Saturnius, born to Nigidus Saturnis, roman knight.
Her: Servilia, servant of Chrysilla Autronia, Axius’s wife.
Setting: Lorsch Abbey today part of Germany
Him: Adeodatus(Hans), son of Michel Boehim. Gained the name of Adeodatus after devoting his life to God, becoming a monk.
Her: Virgin Mary.(or better put, her icon)
Setting: Arras; Paris, France. ~1789(Storming of the Bastille)
Him: Gaston Duhem, atheist, doctor, and supporter of the Republique.
Her: Yvonne Collignon of Gargan, a 18-year old “martyr”.
Setting: Romania, ~1914(The start of WWI)
Him: Toma Novac, philosophy professor.
Her: Ileana Poplinski.
The various eras and settings were a delight for my creative muse, each story different, and although predictable (not really a spoiler: he always dies in the end so he can be reborn elsewhere) it makes you wonder how will it end this time, do they find each-other? Will they finally get together? I am a sucker for romance, for good romance and this was by far the best I’ve read.
Why I want to make this into a film? Never seen a film with romance so powerful. The locations, the time periods … imagine the scenery of this. SO much to play with, my hair stands just thinking about it. It would be the most epic love story in human history. Still, you need a special kind of sensibility to understand this kind of love. You need to have felt at least once that touch of happiness Rebreanu talks about.
“Real happiness lasts no more than a moment. More would not be bearable for the human nature which, often, in a lifetime doesn’t even have the luck to meet this moment, or even to get close to it.”
So yeah … this is not a review … it’s still a ramble. A ramble about a book that I dearly love, a book that made me understand a bit more about life, and a bit more about love.
You can find the Romanian version here: Goodreads. No English copy exists anymore, unfortunately …