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Zeroville

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Zeroville

Zeroville
Author Steve Erickson
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Europa Editions
Publication date 2007
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages 329
ISBN 978-1-933372-39-6
Preceded by Our Ecstatic Days
Followed by These Dreams of You

Zeroville is a 2007 novel by Steve Erickson on film's upheaval in the 1970s. It has been translated into French, Italian, and other languages. It was named one of the best novels of the year by Newsweek, the Washington Post BookWorld and the Los Angeles Times Book Review among others, and in winter 2008 was one of the five favorite novels of 800 novelists and critics in a poll of the National Book Critics Circle.

Plot

Ike Jerome, a 24-year-old architecture student inspired by the few films he has seen, rides the bus into Hollywood. Jerome is almost autistic (later, his friend dubs him a "cineautistic") in his interactions with the world, and is deeply affected by his childhood with his religiously oppressive father. With a tattoo of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor as they appear in A Place in the Sun (a film that plays an important role in the plot) on his shaved head, he makes an impression on the people around him. Soon breaking into film as a designer and eventually a film editor, Vikar (as he is nicknamed) begins a dreamlike journey into the world of films that eventually ends in tragedy and almost horrific discovery.

Themes

Zeroville discusses the supernatural power of films over people and how films become like gods in our worship of them. Vikar's bizarre discovery of the frame found in every film ever made confirms this.

Zeroville is partially a critique of the ways movies and Hollywood changed in the 1970s, as the old studios are taken by young renegade filmmakers (symbolized by the veteran editor Dotty Langer). Vikar laments on the disappearance of film from Hollywood: "'I'm in the movie capital of the world,' Vikar says, 'and nobody knows anything about movies'".[1]

Zeroville's plot is woven with two older stories or myths, that is, Abraham's sacrifice and the legend of Perceval.

Notes

Appropriately, many actors, writers, and directors make appearances, including Robert De Niro, John Milius, Margot Kidder, Ryan O'Neal, Ali MacGraw, Paul Schrader, Luciano Damiani, Brian De Palma, and the ghost of Montgomery Clift.[1]

In March 2011, the novel was optioned by actor James Franco for a feature film, reportedly to begin shooting in 2013.

References

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