Adaptation

27Jan05

If you asked me to give you the most distinctive quality of good writing, I would give it to you in one word: VISUAL. Reduce the art of writing to its fundamentals, and you come to this single aim: to convey images by means of words. But to convey images. To make the mind see … That is the definition of good literature … It is also a definition of the ideal film. – Herbert Read (1945) Films adapted from novels typically invite unfavourable comparison with literary originals, from film critics, newspaper reviewers and audiences alike. Critics see film adaptations of novels as fundamentally flawed, as they are not original, cinematic conceptions; journalists and audiences react with disappointment at superficial dissimilarities, dismayed by casting decisions, inevitable compression and the loss of favourite characters or incidents. Such films are often judged by the degree to which they adhere to or diverge from their literary source material – the film seen either as ‘a remarkably faithful adaptation’ or one that ‘fails to capture the spirit of the original.’ But what is it that they are supposed to be faithful to? If there are potentially as many readings of a text as there are readers, then might not film adaptations be regarded in the same light, as ‘readings’ of or ‘essays’ on their source texts?

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3 Responses to “Adaptation”

  1. 1 shaan

    dunno whether right or wrong
    but my word for all kind of art
    is sensual,(which obviously includes visual).
    A good script art or play nethin of that kind
    should satiate the senses.
    See Fightclub, fearn loathin in Las Vegas
    a visual flick, but si many things hidden
    inside u wakes up.. (at least i came to knew
    that i was not the only was who struggles if hes forced to sleep by 12:00)
    Art i guess should hav an element of mystery
    par visuality to be autocratic.

  2. 2 shaan

    dunno whether right or wrong
    but my word for all kind of art
    is sensual,(which obviously includes visual).
    A good script art or play nethin of that kind
    should satiate the senses.
    See Fightclub, fearn loathin in Las Vegas
    a visual flick, but si many things hidden
    inside u wakes up.. (at least i came to knew
    that i was not the only was who struggles if hes forced to sleep by 12:00)
    Art i guess should hav an element of mystery
    par visuality to be autocratic.

  3. 3 gsgk

    yes, film adaptations may be regarded as readings. But then there are good readings and there are bad readings. For example, how in the world would one film Ulysses? And a film of Madame Bovary in B&W with a lot of dialogue makes no sense to me.

    G


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