Peter Verstraten | ‘In the script it is written, and on the screen, it’s pictures’: (Min)achting voor adaptaties

20.2 Literatuur en Film

Abstract

Insofar as film is considered a storytelling medium, it is often compared unfavourably to literature. A film adaptation of a book is generally bedevilled by the so-called fidelity issue: is the film capable of imitating the ‘original’ tone of the novel? If not, then the film is regarded as a disappointment. This article aims to circumvent the hierarchy that tends to privilege literature over cinema. The first impulse consists of a return to the writings of film theoretician André Bazin who argued that the relatively young medium of film, in order to develop its ‘language’, should ‘digest’ influences from literature and theatre. The second impulse concerns a reading of Jean-Luc Godard’s film Le Mépris (Contempt), from 1963, based upon a novel by Alberto Moravia that satirizes the film industry. The plot is about the failure to adapt Homer’s Odyssey to the screen, but the irony is that the Greek classical story is nevertheless realized via a detour in the disintegration of the marriage of the present-day couple. At the same time, Godard had to give in to the demands of his producers, but time and again he does so in such an oblique way that the film, which superficially looks like a big-budget movie, becomes a satire of the film industry. Hence, Le Mépris is not an attempt to ‘translate’ the content of the book, but a deliberate and creative mis-translation that ‘digests’ literature in order to criticize the conditions under which the film is made. Thanks to the many double entendres and smart devices of Le Mépris, a ‘novel for a train journey’ is transformed into a superb metafilm.

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June 15th, 2014

Emy Koopman | Adaptatie, remediatie, disneyficatie: de weg van het volkssprookje naar de Disneyfilm

20.2 Literatuur en Film

Abstract

This essay traces the development of the folktale from its traditional oral form to a Disney commodity. The first part discusses a few general characteristics of folktales from a structuralist point of view. The second part deals with the development of the folktale from oral performance to literary fairytale. Finally the fairytale-films by Walt Disney play a central role when addressing the following questions: how are folktales influenced by cultural change e.g. the invention of a new medium as opposed to oral transmission? How do folktales influence the culture of which they are at the same time a part?

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June 15th, 2014

Thomas Elsaesser | Cinephilia – Film Studies – Cultural Studies

20.2 Literatuur en Film

Abstract

In this article I want to look at a double conjuncture around an object of study – the cinema – which has itself only recently been accorded the status of a discipline: film studies. Precisely because of its somewhat ‘performative’ position in the academy compared to literary studies, art history or philosophy, film studies is constantly called upon to construct for itself a viable relation to history, theory and cultural studies, while at the same time knowing full well that disciples such as ‘art history’ ‘literary theory’ and ‘cultural studies’ are themselves mediated and constructed by other fields of force, not least by one that now calls itself ‘media theory’. The positioning of film studies within these wider fields, where it is at times central, at times quite marginal, is thus the function of a process that in many ways has only just begun: the transformation of the classic humanities based on written texts, their history [‘influence’] and hermeneutics [‘interpretation’], within a different, more ‘dynamic’ and unstable media environment. Dependent on the space allowed and allotted to the study of images, representation and symbolic action in society at large, film and media studies is under constant and increasing pressure to legitimate itself vis-à-vis the hard and social sciences. This means that while film studies’ ‘place’ in the university curriculum is largely secured – thanks to the double conjuncture of the cinema’s popularity among the university’s primary ‘clients’, the students, and the perceived social and economic relevance of what in the jargon is known as ‘the media’ in general – the place is far from uncontested, because in each case it is already fully-occupied by sitting tenants that are unwilling to cede territory.

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June 15th, 2014

Annejan Barelds | Adaptation in Adaptation.. Or the Significance of Failure

20.2 Literatuur en Film

Abstract

Within the theoretical framework as formulated by Jacques Derrida in Specters of Marx, Spike Jonze’s and Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation. can be interpreted as a generic account of what is happening when a novel is adapted to the screen. The film shows how this process is structured around the fidelity criterion on the one hand and the demand of originality on the other. In focusing on these two themes and tracing the ways in which they interconnect and ultimately seem to cancel each other out, the film proposes to consider failure to be essential to the process of adaptation.

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June 15th, 2014

Jan Baetens | De strategie van het enjambement; met een case-study over Garbage (1993) van A.R. Ammons

20.2 Literatuur en Film

Abstract
The enjambment is a crucial rhetoric figure within poetry, yet it is not often object of study in recent literary research. This is partly due to the fact that contemporary poetry, in which classical metre and classical prosody are no longer of significant importance, does not offer a suitable framework for studying the impact of the enjambment. The aim of this article is to highlight the importance of the enjambment within the genre of the so called free-verse and to propose a model of analysis that does justice to the complexity of this neglected figure of speech in modern poetry. The article concludes with a short case study on the volume Garbage (1993) written by the American poet A.R. Ammons.

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June 15th, 2014