Tag Archives: Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut)


Image result for michael b jordan fahrenheit 451

“You’re still high on kerosene, aren’t you? I can smell it from here.” – Beatty to Guy Montag, in FAHRENHEIT 451

In a world where Frederick Douglass remains alive, well, and discredited (at least among a disingenuous White House cadre), the news that Benjamin Franklin – founder of the first American fire department – gave license to burn is less than surprising.

Intelligence is suspect, facts confuse and divide us, and memories can only bring on depression. The solutions are mandatory medication and the eternal flame of vigilance as a Praetorian guard of fireman – led by Beatty (Michael Shannon) and his protégé Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) – fans out over the city on a search-and-destroy mission to destroy unauthorized hard drives.

On a good night, the uniformed flamethrowers hit the holy grail: rooms full of actual books. The look, the feel, the sensuality of printed paper bound between covers prove too alluring for young Montag. Out of a particularly vivid bonfire he surreptitiously rescues a copy of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground and smuggles it back home. And a light turns on in his head.

Writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s new version of Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel FAHRENHEIT 451 – Bradbury’s confrontation with the specters of McCarthyism and television – screens on HBO this weekend. When François Truffaut filmed the book in 1966, the Vietnam War was escalating, but Watergate was still in the future. In our dark, new age of fake-fake news and institutional kleptocracy, Bradbury’s extraordinary prescience rings truer than ever.

During a Film Independent at LACMA screening earlier this month, Bahrani talked with program curator Elvis Mitchell about his latest work.

“I wanted to risk a lot with this film, and more daunting than [the version by] Truffaut was Bradbury himself and the book..

“Like people first read FAHRENHEIT 451 in high school, I wanted to make a film that would impact high-school students today. This is not a movie about the future. It’s a movie about an alternate tomorrow.”


FAHRENHEIT 451, Saturday, May 19, at 8 pm, on HBO.



See: thedailybeast.com/michael-shannon-on-fahrenheit-451

Above: Michael Shannon (left) and Michael B. Jordan in Fahrenheit 451. Image credit: HBO.

Below: Ramin Bahrani (left) and Elvis Mitchell, Film Independent at LACMA Fahrenheit 451 post-screening Q & A, Bing Theater, LACMA, May 3, 2018.

Ramin Bahrani, Elvis Mitchell, MS, Stage


For the last twenty years, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film THE RED SHOES has been on the mind of choreographer Matthew Bourne, and this year audiences in Los Angeles and New York have the opportunity to see this ideal match of creator, subject, and source. MATTHEW BOURNE’S THE RED SHOES—in its U.S. premiere, at the Ahmanson—is a dance about dance, brought to life with the primary-colored vividness and “stunning visual autonomy” that was a hallmark of the great Powell-Pressburger films.*

Shades of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes stalk the stage in this production of the Hans Christian Andersen story, a Faustian tale wherein a pair of red ballet slippers—functioning like Tolkien’s ring—drives the dancer who wears them (Victoria, played Ashley Shaw) to great heights, followed by exhaustion and death. Victoria is squeezed, artistically and emotionally, between her boss—ballet impressario Lermontov (Sam Archer), who believes a dancer’s one and only relationship should be with the dance—and her lover, the troupe’s composer and music director Julian Craster (Dominic North).

(For THE RED SHOES, Bourne rejected the music used in the film and has fashioned a new score with Terry Davies’ arrangements of Bernard Herrmann’s classic film scores. The “Ballon de Plage” number uses “Ragtime” from Citizen Kane, and several dances are set to music from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Hangover SquareThe Ballet of the Red Shoes—the production’s tour de force centerpiece, with projection design by DuncanMcLean—is set to Herrmann’s score for Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451.)

What David Thomson, in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, wrote about Powell’s films could easily be said about the dances of Matthew Bourne:

“[They] never relinquish their wicked fun or that jaunty air of being poised on the brink. To put an arrow in our eye—to leave a nourishing wound—that was Michael’s eternal thrill… With a very personal mixture of wisdom and naïveté, he treated the artist or wizard as the last potent pagan deity.”*


Through October 1.

Ahmanson Theatre

135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

Note: Nearly every role is triple cast, and during some performances at the Ahmanson, American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes will dance the part of Julian Craster.



October 26 through November 5.

New York City Center

131 West 55th Street, New York City.

In New York, Gomes will again dance Julian Craster in alternate performances, and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns will alternate Victoria with Shaw.

*David Thomson, “Michael Powell,” The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2010).

Top: Ashley Shaw as Victoria Page and Dominic North as Julian Craster in Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes.

Above: Sam Archer as Boris Lermontov.

Below: Liam Mower as Ivan Boleslawsky, with Shaw.

All Shaw/North photographs by Tristram Kenton. Archer and Mower/Page photographs by Johan Persson.