Jack London's Love of Life (2012)
Jack, an Alaska gold rush era miner, is abandoned by his partner and left to make his way through the wilderness alone. Starving and injured, he struggles physically and spiritually to come to grips with what is of true value in his life. The gold, his love that waits for him or the food that can sustain him are all weighed against his ultimate survival. Shot in the wilds of Alaska, the film sets Jack against a landscape that has no mercy yet draws a distinct line to his Love of Life.
- Love of Life Synopsis:
"Where there's life, there's hope." Above is the tag line for our film; Love of Life. Our story is adapted from a famous short story by Jack London. The secret to the appeal of this story is in the emotional impact it produces, behind which is the author's skill, the superb literary talent of Jack London. Without any prologue and exposition our movie brings the audience right into the middle of the events. Starting from the very first scene and further into the story, we rely on visual imagery. This draws a clearer picture of events as well as to intensify what is happening to the main character. We see and feel the cold and hear the dull voice of the man in the story. We use a ghostly vision to tell us the man's thoughts and consciousness. This allows us to make trips in time, both into the past and future. As soon as he returns to the present, we again give more visual imagery. This is how the sense of hunger, experienced by the protagonist, is brought to the awareness of the audience. The visual images of the hero's suffering cause and intensify our compassion for him: Finally, one thought took total control of his consciousness: to eat! He sleeps under the open sky but is restless, hungry. More and more frequently, the wolves' howling is heard in the deserted distance. Three wolves cautiously cross his path. The man has already thrown away most of his things. He next empties half of the heavy bag filled with gold; the same gold for which he came to these distant wild lands. In the evening, he empties the rest of the bag. From time to time, he begins losing consciousness. Some time passes, and he does not reason anymore. The man fails to get food, which is just outside his reach. Our visuals become more terrifying. Ragged, lost in the wilderness, the exhausted man tries to eat the bones that even wolves do not eat. He crushes them with a stone and greedily chews on them. He does not even feel pain when he hits his fingers instead of the bones. It is the life in him, unwilling to die, that drives him on. A sick and starving wolf now follows the man. Now the hidden irony is revealed: it's humiliating for a man to struggle with the sick wolf, but the man knows that even this competition is acceptable for him. The weak animal does not dare attack the man, so the two exhausted creatures drag along the riverbed when the unfortunate man stumbles upon the remains of his buddy Bill, who had deserted him earlier. Next to Bill is a little bag with gold. The cruel irony of life: Bill had his day of his reckoning. At this point, the man can only crawl. The wolf follows. The sense of coming danger forces the man to take a decision. He pretends to be asleep, putting all his will power into trying to keep his consciousness. Patiently he waits for the wolf to come closer to him. Then comes the climax. A fatal fight begins between the two dying, enervated creatures. Nevertheless, at the end, the man comes out a winner. And not having the strength even to crawl, the man collapses completely. A hunter sees the dead wolf and the unconscious man. After terrible suffering comes the end. The will to live has won. The struggle has been carried to the very last moment, a struggle in which everything has been put at stake. The reason making the victory so rewarding is the very fact that everything was given up for it. Our movie is not an artificial exaggeration of human qualities. Rather it is London's discovery in fiction, which resulted from the life experience of a courageous, energetic man, who loved to compete with danger until the end of his life. It is a film about one person's strength and persistence in struggle. The basis for the plot in The Love of Life is found in the real-life events in Alaska encountered by London in a newspaper. One of them happened on the Coppermine River, where one of the gold hunters with a badly sprained ankle barely made it to a populated area. Another event took place at Nome. There in the land of tundra, a gold miner got lost and almost died. The facts about food hoarding and mania about food that haunted a person who experienced extreme hunger London also found in a book by Lieutenant Greeley about his polar expedition. As we can see, true fact constituted the foundation of our movies plot. Added to them was the experience of the personal walk of suffering, Londons own impressions from his trip to the Yukon. All these things may seem little, but were significant enough to provide the realistic backdrop for the story. Londons Code of the North was based on trust and mutual honesty. Harsh conditions brushed off the husk of insincerity and ostentatious bravery, revealing a person's true value. London's writing spoke against egoism, promoting friendship and mutual aid. In his works, he advocated strong-spirited people. According to the author, a coward, a worthless human being, will die sooner than a courageous person. This is how the man in the story The Love of Life died who abandoned his companion. London does not belong to the category of romantic writers, who portray the difficulties of struggle in rose colors, thus deceiving and disarming an audience in the face of serious trials of life. Love of Life, To Build A Fire, The Scorn of Women, The Law of Life, and dozens of other stories, novels and narratives of this outstanding American writer are the immortal witnesses of Jack London's unique talent and of his courageous depictions of reality. My adaptation brings that reality to the motion picture audience.
Robert Gregg - Producer/Screenwriter