The Bookshop at the 2019 International Literature Festival
Written and directed by the Isabel Coixet and based on the novel of the same name by Penelope Fitzgerald, “The Bookshop” represents Spain at this year’s FIL in Montreal.
The International Literature Festival (FIL) is an annual, multi-disciplinary, national and international French-language literary festival whose mission is to promote literature, books and reading to various audiences.
Presented by Lisez l’Europe, a group of cultural institutions whose mission is to present a contemporary perspective of European literature in Montreal, this series of films offers adaptations of contemporary novels to the big screen.
- Directed by Isabel Coixet, Spain / United Kingdom / Germany, 2015, 113 minutes.
- In English with French subtitles. Watch trailer.
- 3 Goya Awards in 2017 for Best Film, Director & Adapted Screenplay. 12 Nominations
Presented in out of competition at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival. Nominated for Best Film, Direction, Screenplay & Music at the 2018 Platino Awards.
Based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name, The Bookshop is set in 1959. Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a free-spirited widow, puts grief behind her and risks everything to open up a bookshop – the first such shop in the sleepy seaside town of Hardborough, England. Fighting damp, cold and considerable local apathy she struggles to establish herself but soon her fortunes change for the better. By exposing the narrow-minded local townsfolk to the best literature of the day including Nabokov’s scandalising Lolita and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, she opens their eyes thereby causing a cultural awakening in a town which has not changed for centuries. Her activities bring her a kindred spirit and ally in the figure of Mr. Brundish (Bill Nighy) who is himself sick of the town’s stale atmosphere. But this mini social revolution soon brings her fierce enemies: she invites the hostility of the town’s less prosperous shopkeepers and also crosses Mrs. Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), Hardborough’s vengeful, embittered alpha female who is herself a wannabe doyenne of the local arts scene. When Florence refuses to bend to Gamart’s will, they begin a struggle not just for the bookshop but for the very heart and soul of the town.
A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life, and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity.—Penelope Fitzgerald, author of The Bookshop
Isabel Coixet brings an interesting, unsentimental detachment to this odd tragicomedy of provincial life (…)—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian