Günter Grass’s classic, The Tin Drum, is coming to an indie theater near you–if you live in Minneapolis, Minn., that is.
The story is set mostly in the past, with Oskar Matzerath recounting his memories as a child who had two abilities: He never grew taller than he was at age 3 and he has the miraculous ability to shatter glass with a scream, while playing his toy drum exquisitely.
Now, he’s stuck in a cell as a prisoner of war and spends his free time writing and pining for his and his ancestors’ histories.
It’s strange how you may pick up one book with some of the same themes at the age of 15, and you dismiss it as simply unrelatable folly. I remember attempting to read a novel in the 10th grade, one about a young girl who grew too tall for her small pond of a hometown and decides to go sightseeing about the country. Of course, I didn’t believe a word of it and mocked the story publicly as part of a graded assignment.
Now, in my early 20s, I picked up The Tin Drum and I was sucked into a similar world where a child stays small and refuses to change with the times. The story is just as symbolic as the one I mentioned earlier, but is the most drastic opposite take on the unequivocal drama of adolescence that I can think of.
Oskar is a clever child, who thinks he’s living somewhat above his peers and even believes he can outwit the adults, which he occasionally does. He introduces his aunt to smutty texts and sells their ideas to her as classical masterpieces. It’s all very manipulative and very interesting, don’t you think?
Grass’s writing is so detailed, that he allows you to see the years fly by seamlessly, as if you’re actually living in Oskar’s world during WWII. The bricks, the smoke, the shattering of glass… you can almost believe you’re hearing and seeing everything you’re reading.
That’s the beauty of his work, which is to say it’s no wonder Volker Schlöndorff chose to adapt the novel into a film by the same name almost 30 years after its publication. With its book cover barely clasping the frayed edges of hardback’s stitching, I think my copy of The Tin Drum was printed in the 50s.
Translated from German, I couldn’t get enough of this story when I read it last year. Now, I can’t wait to see Schlöndorff’s take on the novel and it will be shown on the big screen at Trylon microcinema Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25.
Tickets are available for purchase online and at the door.