The Pacific Problems of Cloud Atlas

Maile Arvin gives a nuanced and Pacific-focused read of Cloud Atlas, which I also reviewed:

the maile vine

Cloud_Atlas_Poster Cloud Atlas theatrical poster, via Wikipedia

This post is a preview of sorts for a talk I will be giving for the Ethnic Studies colloquium at the University of Hawaiʻi on Tues. Jan. 21, at 3 pm. More info here

Since I first saw Cloud Atlas last year, I have been haunted by many of its images. Much has already been said about the 2012 movie, directed by Tom Tykwer (of Run, Lola, Run), Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski (of The Matrix). In sum: the movie was too long and too clever for its own good, and tanked at the box offices. The book on which the movie is based, by Irish writer David Mitchell, is flush with musical metaphors and modeled around a sextet: there are 6 different narratives that make up the whole. The book’s structure is a rising and falling glissando, or as many…

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2 responses to “The Pacific Problems of Cloud Atlas

  1. Luana

    Wow, thanks for that. I’d read the book prior to my brother dragging me to see the movie. I honestly wasn’t certain how well it’d translate to the screen – the concern was not unwarranted. Still, while both left me a bit exasperated and questioning author and director intent, I think I originally ended up a bit more sympathetic and appreciative of the artistic efforts… though my nagging issues with the use and portrayal of Polynesian characters in the narrative remained unexamined.

    This has sparked my interest to revisit the book and movie and sort out if what you describe is similar to my own issues with the Polynesian stories.

    Aside from this, there are some other questions I had about the book and movie – but I can only remain grateful for those attempts that keep me wondering and questioning after the initial experience. Like this post. Thank you again.


  2. mailevine

    Mahalo for sharing! Appreciated reading your review of the film too.


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