“Whenever anyone had mentioned the possibility of making a film adaptation [of my most famous book] my answer had always been ‘No, I’m not interested’. I believe that each reader creates his own film inside his head, gives faces to the characters, contructs every scene, hears the voices, smells the smells. And that is why whenever a reader goes to see a film based on a novel that he likes, he leaves feeling disappointed, saying: ‘The book is so much better than the film’.

(quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Zahir, HarperCollins Publisher 2005)


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14 thoughts on “Books. Our Own Film Inside Our Head

  1. @Aart Hilal

    Happy you popped in and to be contacted by one of Coelho’s friends. What you say is interesting. Plus now I know where Coelho’s blog is. Thank you.


  2. Hi Man of Roma, Paulo Coelho explained very well the reason why I liked The Last Legion as much as I disliked the homonymous movie based on the novel by Massimo Valerio Manfredi.


  3. Hi, Rob, I remember that discussion we had about The Last Legion. And yes, Coelho’s words are interesting as regards the movie-novel relationship.

    I’m sure you agree there can be some exceptions, like Il Gattopardo or The Godfather, where the films were not bad compared to the novels. Nonetheless, yes, a book is a book ….



  4. I had the same feeling when I read a novel already before to watch the film. For example, Harry Potter, I am much prefer to read book rather than the film because novel gives much more details especially in every characters.

    I believe books are better lol..


  5. @AutumnSnow
    Hi Snow, welcome back! I am happy – since you belong to the new generation – you like books. But also movies are great, especially the good ones, of course.


  6. I agree 100%. While the Lord of the Rings series is probably one of the best book to movie adaptations, it’s nowhere near the scale and wonder of the books. One of the main things that crunches films is the time. Also books generally have their protagonists thinking etc. which cannot be shown in films and thus they have to introduce other methods to show that.

    Plus however much the producer invests in his sets, nothing can EVER reach the scale of the readers mind! 🙂


  7. @Ashish

    You have well clarified in my view the key point in Coelho words: hard for technology and film art to compete with the human mind!

    This links to the time factor which I agree is also crucial. If I read the Lord of the Rings it can take weeks and weeks (not to mention months, with people who like to read books savouring them bit by bit). During such long periods tons of stuff happen in our minds.

    Ciao Emperor!


  8. Books beat films hands down… simply becoz

    1. They are original, every subsequent film is an adaptation of it on reel

    2. When we read books… each and every reader develops an image of the character in his her mind.
    eg: while one may imagine say Black beauty as a black horse. His ears and the star on the for head may have different shape and different shades of white for different people.
    When this imagination differs drastically from the character the result is a big let down.

    3. Then obviously books have an emotional values attached to them. How would you feel a title say “CDs from father to daughter” as opposed to a title “letters from father to daughter”

    More or less i am paraphrasing what others have said before..lol..


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