: Bob Gillen's Blog
: Poems That Inspired Films
A filmmaker often finds inspiration in other art forms. Some have looked to poetry for creative inspiration.
Last month the National Film Registry named its 25 films for the year 2010. Among them was I Am Joaquin, a 20-minute film directed by Luis Valdez and based on the epic poem of the same name by Rudolfo Corky Gonzales.
The documentary film highlights the Chicano movement of the 1960s in the United States. It’s a 20-minute video montage with Luis Valdez reading Gonzales’ poem.
You can find the film in two parts on YouTube.
Here are a few more films inspired by poems:
• Gunga Din – this 1939 film was based on Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Gunga Din”, the story of three British sergeants and their native Indian water bearer
• Mulan – the story for Disney’s 1998 animated feature came from a Chinese poem called “Ballad of Mulan”, about the legend of Hua Mulan.
• Beowulf – the 1999 film version was loosely based on an Old English poem.
• Braveheart – the 1995 film was inspired by the 15th century Scottish poem “The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.”
In the world of music, singer/song writer Natalie Merchant turned to poetry for inspiration on her last album. Merchant spent years researching children’s poetry from the 19th and 20th century. Her 2010 album, Leave Your Sleep, features 28 songs based on poems of both well-known and obscure British and American poets.