From Literature to Film

Literature into Film

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Literature into Film

Do you agree with the following theory described in Chapter 6 of Adaptation?  “Memento Mori and MEMENTO illustrate the point-of-departure strategy where filmmakers drop most of the narrative elements from the short story but keep the plot premise as a point of departure, and invent a new story.”   Which did you personally prefer, the short story or the film?  Why?  (7 points) 

The adaptation of the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” set in Maycomb, Alabama (1932), to the film was done in an intricately catchy manner so as to highlight the key social issues that Robert Mulligan thought best to discuss. The departure of strategy element in the film adaptation was noticed when the producer dropped up to 40 characters that were in the novel. The move, though drastic, had a great implication on the direction the story took as narrated through the movie. In the film, the 28 characters who were cast, held a great role in telling the story of Tom Robinson – a black man who is being represented in court by his lawyer, Jean Flinch. Even though Robinson is sentenced to death, the film highlighted the vice of racial injustice as accurately as was intended. A few of the elements retained in the film adaptation were the setting of the story, which was Maycomb, Alabama (1932). It was in this era that racial discrimination was prevalent and Mulligan brought out this perspective clearly using the characters in the movie.

Some of the added elements in the movie, include: the use of music to show emotion in the narration and the opening montage of Scout’s childhood toy box at the beginning of the story. As such, the audience knew right from the start that, the story was going to be told from a child’s point of view. I preferred the film adaptation since it made use of more conceivable visual styles and had less reliance on the reader’s imagination in the case of the novel. With the use of music for emotion and a visual representation of characters, I was able to intimately associate with the message of the film.

“Memento” is a film, written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The main character, Leonard Shelby, who is an ex-insurance-investigator suffers brain damage and has temporary amnesia. Shelby is on a quest to find his wife’s murderer all through the entire movie which is shot in both colour picture and film-noir. The sequence of events is in reverse chronological order and only comes to merge at the end when the audience is able to understand what was going on in the movie. The use of this screenplay style of casting is essential in the movie to give the audience insight into the life of persons with memory loss.

  • ELECTION Do you find aspects of this 1999 adaptation relevant to the 2020 American election year, or is this film simply a comedy from another era?  Did you enjoy it?  Why or why not?  Be sure to discuss acting, story and editing in your analysis. (3 points)

Some aspects of the adaptation of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’, are perfectly in sync with the 2020 American election year. In essence the hope for a better future through adherence to human right and service to the people have been depicted. The American spirit that motivates people to work, maintain their dignity and hope for a better tomorrow remain precedent in the adaptation. I enjoyed the movie since it was able to maintain relevance as appertaining to the issues that beguile our nation and world as a whole. The film directors made necessary use of editing, drama and visual scenes in the various shots in order to bring dynamism to the story. The scenes that were majorly implied in the play were visualised in the film which helped the audience understand and realize the depth of the story and maintained the flow whilst enrapturing them.

  • Referring to Chapter 7 in Adaptation, explain in detail how A Soldier’s Play was opened up to produce A SOLDIER’S STORY.  Do any of these methods of adaptation apply to A RAISIN IN THE SUN?   (7 points)  

The opening up of ‘A Soldier’s Play’ to produce ‘A Soldier’s Story’ was rather meticulously done by the directors and producers of the film. As such, the visualization of the scene at the beginning of the film at Big Mary’s played a key role in story development. The story occurs during the World War II period and tackles the problem of tension between Americans and African-Americans. The use of cinematic angles and shots in the production played a huge role in opening up the play. Those aspects of the play that were implied and left to the imagination of the audience, have been acted out by the actors hence bringing into perspective the emotion and direction of the film. The use of music and the additional actors in the film adaption contribute to developing the depth of the plot and helps viewers associate with the characters and show empathy. These methods of adaptation are clearly depicted in A Raisin in the Sun by actualisation of imagined scenes thereby making the story seem much realer.

4.      Do you feel that IN COLD BLOOD and HIDDEN FIGURES succeed in bringing you, personally, into their actual worlds?  If so, what elements do you think are most responsible for articulating a believable sense of reality in these films?  If not, what is lacking, in your opinion?  Refer to Chapter 8 in Adaptation as you discuss how characters sound and look, visual design of locations and the depiction of historical events. (7 points)

Hidden Figures, the film, did a great job in bringing me into the world as was in the 1960s. The accurate use of various dramatization styles, dressing and shots taken assist in helping the view attribute authenticity to the movie. The movie is based on the story of 3 African-American women who are mathematicians working for NASA during the space race in the 1960s. As such, there was an increased need for the producers to tell the story from that perspective in order to assist the audience in understanding the world’s point of view from the eyes of the 3 protagonists. The design of clothing and adornment was done in a specific manner so as to depict the sexist manner in which black women were treated during that period in time. The film was thorough and brought a realistic sense of presence in that era to me while I watched it.

In Cold Blood a crime novel written by Truman Capote was adapted into a film directed by Richard Brooks in 1967. The adaptation concentrates efforts in creating a sense of realism in the story development such that the audience is glued to the screen form start to end. In essence, the active use of casting characters who looked and emulated the part as depicted in the novel was an essential means by which they created a sense of reality. The location and setting of the rooms in which The Clutters family was murdered give a sensation of truth in the narration of the story. Staging the movie in the exact places where the events actually took place makes the audience believe in the truthfulness of the story and intrigued me into watching the whole movie. Therefore, the adaptation was a good transition from novel to film that I enjoyed watching.

  • Chapter 9 in Adaptation states that the literary movement of magical realism is similar to animation, because both blend details from everyday life with the fantastic.  Do you feel that this theory applies to I LOST MY BODY and PERSEPOLIS
    If so, how?  If not, why? (7 points)

Persepolis, an animation film, narrates a story of Iranian life during the Islamic revolution of 1970. Marjane Satrapi, the protagonist, is shown as a woman intent on trampling on unfair societal standards that seek to treat women unfairly as well as influence young boys into doing their bidding. Magical realism has been shown in a few ways all through this movie. We shall discuss a few of these instances here. The first instance is a shot taken where Marjane is in a school auditorium with students separated according to gender during an assembly. There is a clear distinction in their natures of dressing and she boldly stands against the unfair treatment by the school faculty. Her actions go on to highlight the unfair systems put in place by the Iranian society at the time. The second instance is when Marjane is stopped by the police while running and warned from doing so. At this point in time, she is a young adult and the police claim that her running looks sexual. These claims are utterly preposterous and go on to address the social standards set in place for women even in the world today. In another shot of the film, we see young children sacrificing themselves in a landmine during a war. The army gives them plastic keys while encouraging them to join since they will use that key to enter paradise if they die fighting for the nation. As utterly absurd as this sounds, it is a form of manipulation that happens even today when powerful people use the less fortunate for their personal vendetta. Consequently, magical realism has been used in this film to bring into perspective to blend fantasy and reality.

I Lost my Body is based on the story of a hand that got separated from its owner Naoufel. We are shown life and experiences from the perspective of this hand are able to empathise with it as it shows aspects of emotion all through the film. Magical realism is illustrated in the shot where the hand sees a blind man playing a piano and it goes on to imagine its owner, Naoufel playing the piano. At the same time, Naoufel is also going through his cassette tapes collection and imagining of a day when he would be able to play the piano. Such scenes give a clear depiction of magical realism since the actions are not real but simply wishful thoughts.

Another instance of magical realism in this film is the initial scene where the hand is in a subway station and falls under the railway to get attacked by a group of rats. In this scene there is a shot where the rats feign friendliness only to attack the hand. In the end, the hand fights them off using a lighter it picks up. In this scene, the hand depicts some aspects of human nature like: fear, fright, sadness and the constant will to live. From the hand, we get a mirror image of the nature of humankind and realize that despite how hard life may get, we shall always fight to live another day.

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