Conrad: “My task which 1 am trying to achieve is, by the powers of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make to see.” (qtd in McFarlane 3) // D. W. Griffith Novel – mental image physical details Film – visual image (George Bluestone) stories
Late 19 th century fiction: its “ostensibly unmediated visual language” (5) Conrad and James -- anticipate the cinema in their capacity for “decomposing” a scene, for altering point of view so as to focus more sharp1y on various aspects of an object for exploring a visual field by fragmenting it rather than by presenting it scenographically… modern novels (such as those of Proust and Woolf) – influenced by cinema montage (ref. Cohen)
Dickens-Griffith connection Eisenstein – discusses narrative techniques analogous to frame composition and close-up [McFarlane] critics tend to focus too much on their similarities in themes or narrative patterns, But not analyzing in details Possible parallels and disparities between the two different signifying systems, …the range of “functional equivalents” available to each within the parameters of the classical style as evinced in each medium.
Modern novels (as well as Death of a Salesman, Equus, or M. Butterfly) and films Influences from film: montage, split screen, flashbacks less easily adaptable to films –Do you agree? “[they] have lost a good deal of their fluid representations of time and space when transferred to the screen.” the suture device of the classic narrative film: shot/reverse shot (image source)image source The spectator becomes aware of the off-screen space [of frame and absent space] of A and stitched into the film A A B B
two language systems: codes and their processes of encoding and decoding (1) Different functions of the codes (one symbolically, and the other through interaction) (2) tense: films cannot present actions in the past the way novels do. (3) film’s spatiality gives it a physical presence denied to novels (29)
different considerations and approaches: commercialism, respect for lit. work 3 approaches: visual transliteration, selective interpretation, re-creating an established mood. a reader’s phantasy of what the novel looks like. common response: violation of the original; still there is an urge to embody verbal concepts more than 3/4 of Oscar’s “best pictures” were adaptations (Morris Beja qtd in McFarlane 8)
fidelityPartial revision Creative (1) Transpositioncommentaryanalogy (2) Fidelity of transformation intersectionBorrowing (3) Fidelity to the main thrust Significantly reinterpretin g Source as raw materials only SourcesSources (1) (2) (3)
fidelityPartial revision Creative BBC Shakespeare or Jane Austen --Mansfield Park by Patricia Rozema --Mulan (Disney) The Hours (Mrs. Dalloway) Conditions of production ideologiesAppropriation for the present? Your examples? -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008; F. Scott Fitzgerald) -- Girls, Interrupted ( Susanna Kaysen's memoir) -- Blade Runner (Philip K. Dick... (novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?") -- The Shawshank Redemption (1994; Stephen King (short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption")
To its physical details To its (“Romantic”) spirit
To complicate the issue of creation Adding a Feminist Role
The Hours * Artists’ gender and social positions in the 20 th century -- Girls, Interrupted -- Blade Runner Creative Melodramatic or with a Happy Ending Frankenweenie For different audience Domesticating the monsters Issues: 1)Respectful adaptation or a pastiche? 2)Conditions of production (p. 10) 3)Supporting which ideologies? * Chimes at Midnight; Shakespeare’s Lover; etc.
1) The Centrality of Narrative (the chief transferrable element) e.g. the plot of embourgeoisement (p. 12) Roland Barthes: distributional and integrational functions TransferrableDistributional --doing Function proper -- cardinal (turning points) and catylyzer AdaptingIntegrational --being Indices proper (characters and atmosphere) -- adaptable informants (concrete data -- transferreable
(a) subjective cinema a consistently subjective perspective is less likely: “[w]hile cinema may be more agile and flexible in changing the physical point of view from which an event or object is seen, it is much less amenable to the presentation of a consistent psychological viewpoint derived from one character” (16). (b) oral narration and voice-over One’s sense of the characters still come more from his/her action than from his/her comments. [different from the first-person narrative fiction]
Or center of consciousness: “there is always a narrator looking over their shoulder, in the way that the camera may view action over the shou1der of a character in the foreground of a shot, giving the viewer both the character' s point of view and a slightly wider point of view which includes the character” (19).
1) Attributed to various characters in direct speech 2) the narrative, or the apparently authoritative ‘metalanguage,‘ that surrounds the characters -- an issue: the camera’s mise-en-scene serving narrational function? --Yes and no. The camera is not part of the film as an omniscient narrator is of a novel. (pp. 17- 18)
Story and discourse enunciation and enunciated character function and fields of action Mythic and psychological pattern Linearity and spatiality frame and its spatial impact (richer than a word) the frame is not a discrete entity as a word is Codes
McFarlane, Brian. “Part I Backgrounds, Issues, and a New Agenda.” Novel Into Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. Oxford UP, 1996. “Suture.” Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. Works mentioned by McFarlane – George B1uestone’s Novels into Film Alan Spiegel' s Fiction and the Camera Eye Keith Cohen' s Film and Fiction. Eisenstein’s discussion of Dickens’ cinematic technique (1) Geoffrey Wagner, The Novel and the Cinema (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press: Rutherford, NJ, 1975), 222. (2) Dudley Andrew, 'The Well-Worn Muse: Adaptation in Film History and Theory', in Syndy Conger and Janice R. Welsch (eds.), Narrative Strategies ( West Illinois University Press: Macomb, Ill., 1980), 10. (3) Michael Klein and Gillian Parker (eds.), The English Novel and the Movies ( Frederick Ungar Publishing: New York, 1981), 9-10.