The dystopian film and novel genre has become increasingly popular as of late. It seems as if audiences are both terrified and intrigued by the notion of a world not too far from their own, yet lacking the government restraints they have now. Perhaps this is because of the the widespread fear most people harbor of, at some point, losing their freedoms to an overly controlling system. Building on previous dystopian film success such as Road Warrior, Blade Runner and Hunger Games, Orson Scott Card’s short story, Unaccompanied Sonata, will also attempt to attract dystopian-loving crowds.
Already, Mr. Orson Scott Card has received a fair bit of publicity for his popular novel-turned-film, Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game, which failed to garner the attention such a widely admired novel should achieve when debuting on screen, was a victim of both poor timing and the very open political views of its author.
Card, who has long been clear regarding his opinions on gay marriage, the current president, and other notions, never had issues continuing to sell his written works. However, leading up to the premiere of Ender’s Game, Card’s statements made a resurgence into the public eye – resulting in a widespread LGBT boycott by Geeks Out against the premiere. Card’s response was to point out that people were “not getting the true picture of me from these comments, and they’re certainly not getting anything to do with Ender’s Game.”
Opinions aside, it’s true that Ender’s Game did not address Card’s controversial views on marriage. It would also be difficult to determine if it was solely Card’s statements which had an adverse affect on the release, since the film also premiered on the same weekend as Thor: The Dark World, and Card and others may have overestimated the number of older fans who would see a film starring children, and the number of younger fans the novel had accrued in recent years. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely Ender’s Game had the box office success it needed to convince producers to make the sequel – it was quickly pushed to DVD and local Direct TV channels for streaming, in search of a sales bump from home viewing.
Which is why it’s wise that Mr. Orson Scott Card and his film-producing fans have opted to move on from the series, and his next work will be a short story that has won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Short Story in previous years. Unaccompanied Sonata leans more toward the artistic end of the film spectrum, making it fitting that Yaron Zilberman has signed on to write and direct the film. Zilberman made his feature directorial debut with 2012’s A Late Quartet, a film following a world-renowned string quartet as they struggle to stay together during their final performances. The film received good reviews, and did well in its attempt to simulate the struggle and power within musical groups – which makes Zilberman an excellent choice to bring Unaccompanied Sonata to life.
Unaccompanied Sonata tells the tale of a young boy raised to be a musical prodigy. He is kept isolated and oblivious to other music in order to create uninfluenced works of his own. After some time, the boy hears Bach’s “Unaccompanied Sonata,” and afterwards is barred from making music due to the belief that his works will be impure.
Many themes are explored in the tale, which was originally published in 1979 in Omni Magazine, including the origin of creativity, the corrupt potential of dystopian governments, and the unbearable torture that is being told to never again do what you love. Card considers the story his best ever, which is why, as with Ender’s Game, the author found it difficult to approve a film version. Zilberman’s A Late Quartet, however, convinced Card it could be done. He said of the upcoming film, “I hope I get to see the Zilberman version of Unaccompanied Sonata. It is my best story, in the hands of the only director I know of who could possibly make it live as a visual and musical experience.”
Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment writer and blogger born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has a penchant for high fantasy, and loves anything that involves an epic battle of some sort. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.