Monday, March 22, 2010

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story


Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story is a 2005 British comedy film directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is a film-within-a-film, featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing themselves as egotistical actors during the making in a screen adaptation of Laurence Sterne's 18th century novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. Since the book is about a man attempting but failing to write his autobiography, the film takes the form of being about failing to make the film.



This 18th century novel tells the story of Tristram Shandy from the moment of his conception onwards. In adapting the work for the screen, director Michael Winterbottom chose to stay true to its anarchic spirit: the film begins as a straightforward adaptation of events in Sterne's writings, and then changes over to a tale about the making of the film itself. Steve Coogan plays Tristram Shandy, who narrates his own life story, beginning with his birth, overseen by an addled doctor and his reticent father, Walter. Constantly quarreling with his battle-scarred brother Toby, Walter Shandy has an epiphany when he holds his newborn son; however, before that moment can occur, the film switches into the present day, where Coogan and Brydon, playing themselves, bicker over costuming and the size of their roles in the film. The rest of the film's crew has their own concerns. Director Mark is trying to figure out how to secure a big Hollywood star for a supporting role. The film's production assistant Jennie worries about the fact that their adaptation is leaving out the best parts of the book, as she nurses a crush on one of the cast members. Meanwhile, Coogan tries to prevent a tabloid reporter from enquiring into his strip-club escapades, and attempts to pacify the concerns of his wife, Jenny.

“A Cock and a Bull Story” was nominated several times and got 4 wins.
It got the awards “Best British Film” by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and “Best British Producer” by the London Film Critics Association in 2005. In 2006, it won the “Golden Tulip” in the category “Best Foreign Film” during the Istanbul International Film Festival. And in 2007, it got the ”Chlotrudis Award” in the category Best Adapted Screenplay.




Désirée Andres and Jennifer Dartevelle