Some renewed interest in Huckleberry Finn it seems; last summer, it was announced that ABC was developing a series described as a contemporary take on Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, created by the team behind Detroit 1-8-7.
Of course, my immediate thoughts went to all the criticims of the original novel’s notions of race and identity, the character Jim (the good-hearted, moral slave, and Mark Twain’s stereotypical depictions of him), its repeated use of the word “nigger,” and more, as many labeled the novel racist; while on the other side, Twain scholars argue that the novel’s protagonist, and the overall message of the book, is actually anti-racist.
I think that’s a debate that continues today.
It certainly isn’t the first time Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn has been adapted for the screen (it’s happened quite a few times since the book was published in the late 1800s – from musicals, to animations, feature films, stage, and more).
No word yet on when the series can be expected, or if it’s even still in development.
While you wait for that, maybe this new German adaptation of the work, Die Abenteuer des Huck Finn, will tickle your fancy… or maybe not.
Directed by Hermine Huntgeburth, the film co-stars Jacky Ido as Jim. If you’re not immediately familiar with Ido (although his name has come up a few times on S&A) the French/Burkinabe actor will likely be most recognized from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, playing Marcel to Mélanie Laurent’s vengeful Shosanna; for the geeks out there, he’s also Cédric Ido’s older brother (Cédric directed the African Samurai short film Hasaki Ya Suda that I profiled on this site in 2011, which also starred big brother Jacky). He’s also co-starring in Nefertite Nguvu’s ensemble drama In The Morning – a film we’ve also been following since its Kickstarter days. So we’ll be seeing more of Mr Ido…
Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
Huck Finn sits prim and proper at the table with widow Douglas and Miss Watson every day, is served by the obedient house-slave Jim, goes to school and constantly to the church as well. After all, he and his best mate Tom Sawyer are wealthy boys since they found a treasure during their last adventure. What’s wrong here? – Right, boys like Tom & Huck are definitely not prim and proper! Huck Finn loves nothing more than being outdoors in his rain barrel, catch fish and roast it on a stick over the campfire. Shoes, jackets, shirt collars – what’s all that for? Every time possible they sneak away…but one day it’s all over with the good village life. Huck’s boozy and greedy father shows up in St. Petersburg. And he’s up to no good! The tramp and scallywag thinks that the prosperity of his son Huck belongs all to himself. Before the old man can do any mischief, Huck runs away and Jim joins him as he overhears that Miss Watson sold him to a slave trader. On a self-made raft they start their exciting adventure down the dangerous river Mississippi all the way to Cairo and from there to Ohio, a country where slavery is forbidden and Jim can build up a life as a free man. At least that is the plan. Hunted by Huck’s dad and three ruthless slave-hunters, Huck experiences his greatest and most dangerous adventure ever.
Those attending the Berlin International Film Festival in February will get to see his turn as Jim in Die Abenteuer des Huck Finn, when the film screens there on February 15.
We might have a review for you from the festival; but no promises on that.
In the meantime, watch the trailer below for the film (unfortunately it’s not subtitled in English):