Staring at the title of the book, he turned hot and cold, cold and hot. Here was just what he had dreamed of, what he had longed for ever since the passion for books had taken hold of him: A story that never ended! The book of books!
He had to have this book – at any price.
From The NeverEnding Story (Die unendliche Geschichte) by Michael Ende
My parents rented The NeverEnding Story on VHS when I was four. The film, a 1984 adaptation of Michael Ende’s classic German fantasy novel, is sentimental and poorly acted, with the special effects you’d expect from the era – one critic called the dragon ‘an impractical bathmat’. Ende labelled the film ‘revolting’ and sued its creators. It was the greatest film I’d ever seen, and I became a fan for the first time.
The film loosely follows the first half of Ende’s novel. A schoolboy, Bastian, evades bullies by hiding in a bookshop. Its proprietor is reading an exquisite tome, The NeverEnding Story; in the film he tells Bastian, ‘This book is not for you.’ Bastian can’t resist – he steals it, skips class and reads by candlelight in the school attic. Within the book are the hopes and dreams of humanity, in the form of a world called Fantasia. This world is being destroyed and only Bastian can save it. How does he succeed? By reading, by imagining, by creating.
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