A thousand secrets, a thousand dangers: when fantasies come true

The author of the novel A thousand secrets, a thousand dangers, Alain Farah, has received dozens of proposals from creators who wanted to bring his work to the big screen. An avid reader, it was filmmaker Philippe Falardeau who was commissioned to adapt this award-winning novel into a feature film.

Last October, Alain Farah received an email from a Quebec director he has long admired. Philippe Falardeau had read his novel A thousand secrets, a thousand dangers (to be published by Le Quartanier in 2021) and wanted to make a film out of it.

Works on the series at the same time raspberry timeThe director was so excited about this film adaptation – and knowing that other creators had their eyes on this project – that he agreed to push the project start faster than usual.

“We met everyone to see their vision,” explains the 43-year-old author, who is signing his third novel here. We wanted to know their artistic point of view, and when you confront people with this question, you quickly understand a lot of things. »

If the meeting with Falardeau took place last December, the final signature was only added a little less than two weeks ago. For their part, the long discussions and the various technical and artistic stages have equipped the last few months of the two creators.

“It’s really beautiful,” launches the author, who already greatly admired Philippe Falardeau. I know his work well, I’m attached to his cinema and grew up with his worldview The World Destination Race. I know he has the will to make the novel a very personal film, which is good because I still tell my life there under the real names (Laugh). »

hoped for fantasy

Farah describes the hoped-for fantasy as confirmation that her work will be brought to the big screen. His 498-page novel – on which he worked for eight years – is guided by a writing “that dialogues with cinema,” he believes.

“We take the time to write, Philippe and I,” continues the man who claims to have no cinematic experience but is willing to learn.

“We want to dive into the project now and take the time to get things right. That will be Philippe’s scenario but I will be there to help him. In fact, I will be at his service and observe what he has to offer me while attempting to bracket that this is my book. »

While it’s still too early to speculate on the names of the actors who will make up the cast, the Montreal-born Egyptian author to Lebanese parents knows that one of the challenges of the film will be to live up to that reality, the depicted in the novel: that of an Egyptian and Lebanese community in Montreal.

As for the whirlwind and extraordinary enthusiasm for his autobiographical novel, which takes up important themes (family, immigration, grief, suffering, money, religion), he does not try to explain.

When asked, however, he replies that it’s probably due to a number of things, including the topic and timing.

“There has to be a correspondence between what you’ve done and what people are reading,” he explains. Right now, we’re listening to immigrant Québecians starting to share stories from their Québec past, but of a different nature, with a different background. »

“My book approaches racism in a more unique way, with a character choosing to actively deny her immigrant side, with horrifying consequences. »

  • the novel A thousand secrets, a thousand dangers by Alain Farah was a finalist for the 2022 Prix des libraires du Québec and a finalist for the 2022 Prix littéraire des Collégiens.

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