8 Inspired Book and Film Pairings


Author Lydia Millet’s recently published metaphysical thriller Sweet Lamb of Heaven, a chilling account of a young mother who flees her estranged husband, is the newest book featured at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Print Screen series — which bridges narratives on the page and in cinema. Millet will be joining a companion screening of the anxiety-ridden Hideo Nakata Japanese horror film Ringu on Monday, June 6 for a discussion and book signing.

“What intrigues me about Ringu is its direct and oddly powerful use of the child: child as horror, child as innocent. And a mother placed between them,” Millet said of the movie.

Inspired by both works, we imagined a few book and film pairings for your reading and viewing pleasure — evocative stories that complement one another in surprising ways.

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe Tree of Life by Terrence Malick

Thomas Wolfe’s autobiographical novel chronicles a young man’s life from birth to age 19, set in fictional Altamont, Catawba. Terrence Malick’s cosmic epic looks at the origins of the universe and meaning of life through the memories of a man who lived in 1950s Texas.

The Maid’s Version: A Novel by Daniel Woodrell There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson

Both tales explore how “permanent grievances, sharp animosities, and cold memories” can eat away at us. The narratives are also bound together by the rural landscape, a dangerous explosion, and family secrets.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Precious by Lee Daniels

A grim, lyrical portrait of two young African-American girls who escape a lifetime of abuse in drastically different ways.

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things by JT LeRoy Christiane F. by Uli Edel

Both stories follow a heartbreaking and harrowing coming-of-age journey with shocking details about drug addiction, poverty, and abuse.

The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg

Experimental Burroughs-inspired madness.

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak Head-On by Fatih Akin

An exploration of female selfhood and the intersection of different cultures/generations, full of “tension between the need to examine the past and the desire to erase it.”

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter The Piano by Jane Campion

The haunting stories of women who don’t conform to the conventions set by male society, framed as dark fairy tales — both featuring their own retelling of Bluebeard.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Marielle Heller

Highly visual and candid coming-of-age stories with a feminist focus, set against the social and political revolutions happening in Iran and the United States in the 1970s.