demme_zeitoun

This summer Dave Eggers published his non-fiction book Zeitoun, an account of a New Orleans family experiencing Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Abdulrahman Zeitoun stayed in the city after the floods, using his canoe to get about the city in order to help people and it is his testimony, gathered via interviews, that herein provides Eggers material and, to a large extent, voice. It was a stealth publication, in the sense that nobody had much heard of it until shortly before it hit shelves, but Eggers commands a loyal fan base, for his whole McSweeney’s line as much as for himself, so it was eagerly received.

One fan who leapt right into it was Jonathan Demme, who had been a follower of Eggers work since his son introduced him to What is the What. Demme had himself directed a series of films on post-Katrina New Orleans called Right to Return: New Home Movies From the Lower 9th Ward. If you ask me, he’s absolutely the only director who would see a film in this book and then go on to realise it appropriately.

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