Wednesday, August 29, 2007

2001: A Space Odyssey (Trailer )

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. The film deals with themes of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life, and is notable for its scientific realism, pioneering special effects, and provocatively ambiguous imagery and sound in place of traditional narrative techniques.
Writing of 2001: Shortly after completing Dr Strangelove (1964), Stanley Kubrick evinced a fascination with the possibility of extraterrestrial life, determining to make "the proverbial good science fiction movie". Researching for a suitable collaborator in the SF community, Kubrick was advised to seek out Arthur C. Clarke by a mutual aquaintance, Columbia Pictures staffer Roger Caras. Although convinced Clarke was "a recluse, a nut who lives in a tree", Kubrick agreed to Caras cabling the Ceylon-based author with the film proposal. Clarke responded that he was "frightfully interested in working with enfant terrible", adding "what makes Kubrick think I’m a recluse?".

In early conversations, Kubrick and Clarke jokingly called their project How the Solar System Was Won, an allusion to the 1962 Cinerama epic How the West Was Won. Like How the West Was Won, the Kubrick production would be divided into distinct episodes. Clarke considered a number of his stories before selecting "The Sentinel", published in 1950, as the starting point for the film. The collaborators originally envisaged that the final writing credits would be "Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, based on a novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick", to reflect their pre-eminence in their respective fields. They planned to develop a novel first, free of the constraints of a normal script, and then to write the screenplay. However filmic ideas required for a final script developed parallel to the novel, with cross-fertilisation between the two. Clarke wrote later that credit for the screenplay to "Kubrick and Clarke", and for the novel to "Clarke and Kubrick", would be "the nearest approximation to the complicated truth". In the end the screenplay credits would be shared while the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, released shortly after the film, would be attributed to Clarke alone. (From Wikipedia)

A Modern Adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1996)

Classic story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in a modern-day city of Verona Beach still retaining its original dialogue. The Montagues and Capulets are two feuding families, whose children meet and fall in love. They have to hide their love from the world because they know that their parents will not allow them to be together. There are obstacles on the way, like Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, and Romeo's friend Mercutio, and many fights. But although it is set in modern times, it is still the same timeless story of the "star crossed lovers".

The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1952 (Full Movie)

Writer Harry Street reflects on his life as he lies dying from an infection while on safari in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Directed by Henry King, written by Casey Robinson, based on Ernest Hemingway's short story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Anna Karenina trailer (1997) One of the recent adaptations of Tolstoy's classic novel.

A 1997 British-American production filmed in St. Peterburg, Russia, by director Bernard Rose with Sophie Marceau as Anna Karenina.

Voyage Dans la Lune - A Trip to the Moon, 1902 (One of the first adaptations of popular novels.)

A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a 1902 French black and white silent science fiction film. It is loosely based on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells. It was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. The film runs 14 minutes if projected at 16 frames per second.

A Trip to the Moon was extremely popular in its day and is the best-known of the hundreds of fantasy films made by Méliès. It is also considered by many to be the first science fiction film, and utilizes innovative animation and special effects. (From Wikipedia)

Hamlet (1996) - Trailer

Shakespeare, Shakespeare...

Becoming Jane Trailer (2007)

Based on the biography of Jane Austen by Jon Spence’s.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shakespeare in Translation: Foreign Film Versions of Shakespeare's Plays

Shakespeare is unquestionably one of the most distinguished writers of all time, possibly even the most distinguished.

Since the time when he wrote his plays, however, they have been interpreted in many interesting and unique ways. This is a result of the varied ways in which Shakespeare’s plays resonate with their directors, and each of these directors, despite their differences of interpretation, can justify their interpretations of the text based on what each of them has discovered written between the lines.

The last eighty or so years have seen a new medium for these interpretations, that of film. Since the early days of silent film, directors have sought to interpret the words of Shakespeare into the heavily visual medium of film, with varying success. An additional problem presents itself in the very language, however. What if the director literally does not speak the Bard’s language? How then do the plays of Shakespeare speak to these directors?

A translation, no matter how good, always changes the original in some way. A foreign director also has another problem. The culture of Renaissance England often differs greatly from modern English culture, let alone the modern culture of foreign nations. Thus a foreign film director who wishes to film Shakespeare is presented with a three-fold problem; transferring the dialogue-heavy Shakespearian text into the visually intensive film medium, translating the English text into an accessible form for the foreign audience, and making cultural concessions in order to keep the context of the play understandable to the audience.

I intend to examine these problems in the context of two directors and three plays: Grigori Kozintsev’s Hamlet (Gamlet, 1964), Akira Kurosawa’s Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood (Kumonoso jô, 1957), and both directors’ adaptations of the play King Lear, Kozintsev’s King Lear (Korol Lir, 1969) and Kurosawa’s Ran (1984). At times these can be extreme examples of the problems in translating Shakespeare, but I often find that extreme examples are often the most informative.

Read more

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Two Takes on "The Postman Always Rings Twice"

According to one critic, there are no fewer than six film versions of James M. Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice (Yakir). This 1934 American roman noir was so influential, in fact, that the existentialist author Albert Camus penned his classic L’Etranger after reading Cain’s text. 

The novel tells the story of a drifter who goes to work for the owner of a roadside restaurant and gas-station and his younger and fatally attractive wife. Frank, the drifter, forms an obsessive attachment to this woman, Cora, and the two embark on a torrid affair that results in the murder of Cora’s husband, Nick. When the two are caught and taken to trial, however, they turn on each other, and the story spirals to a climax in which the lovers reap their own self-destruction. 

The novel’s shocking violence and unbridled sexuality has repeatedly caused scandal in its various adaptations to the silver screen. This paper will examine two of these versions, the 1946 film directed by Tay Garnett and starring John Garfield and Lana Turner, a classic film noir that relies heavily upon symbolic imagery to depict sex and violence; and, the 1981 film version adapted by David Mamet, directed by Bob Rafelson, and starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, a “neo-noir” which reflects the relaxation of industry censorship in its graphic depiction of sex and violence. It would not be unusual to assume that the liberalization of Hollywood’s censorship codes would reflect a general liberalization of cultural attitudes, but as the following discussion will show, both film versions work to mediate their particular cultural concerns, and neither can be so easily classified as more liberal or progressive than the other. 

By investigating the filmic representations of concerns over sex and violence, gender roles, and race in these two films, it can be shown that despite a decreased censorship in the more contemporary filmmaking era, there are still many cultural issues and anxieties that are not made explicit but are symbolically present and problematized in the text of these films. Read More...

From Short Story to Film to Autobiography: Intermedial Variations in Ingmar Bergman's Writings and Films

[These are excerpts from In the Beginning Was the Word. Ingmar Bergman and His Early Writings (Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 2002), originally published in Film International #1.]

One autumn a few years ago the author of this article was in the process of editing a special issue about Ingmar Bergman for a now-defunct cinematic journal. The idea was to focus on Bergman the author in some sort of interartial or intermedial spirit, and for this purpose we wanted to print his never-produced screenplay “The Fish. Farce for Film” from 1950, written in prose form.

The only thing we now needed was the author’s permission. Thus, a strictly businesslike request for the right to use “The Fish” was sent off. But we did not necessarily expect any answer. I myself had been in personal contact with Ingmar Bergman only once before when, a week after defending my doctoral dissertation about his films (
Plays and Mirrors. A Study in the Cinematic Aesthetics of Ingmar Bergman, 1993), he had completely unexpectedly phoned me up. “Of course Bergman wants to check up on who that person is who has the gall to write a dissertation about his films without contacting him personally,” explained a clear-headed woman friend, at the same time touching on the reason why I had kept my distance: a certain concern about the author’s possible desire to interfere. read more

Selected Bibliography on adaptation

Andrew, D. (1980) ‘The Well-Worn Muse: Adaptation in Film History and Theory’, in S. M. Conger and J. R. Welsch (eds.) Narrative Strategies: Original Essays in Film and Prose Fic­tion. Macomb, Ill.: Western Illinois University Press, 9-17. Repr. in D. Andrew (1984) Concepts in Film Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press; in L. Braudy and M. Cohen (eds.) (1999 (1974)) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Read­ings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 452-60; and in J. Naremore (ed.) (2000) Film Adaptation. London: Athlone, 28-37.
—— (1993) ‘The Unauthorized Auteur Today’, in J. Collins et al. (eds.) Film Theory Goes to the Movies. New York and Lon­don: Routledge, 77-85.
Astruc, A. (1999 (1948)) ‘The Birth of a New Avant Garde: La Caméra-Stylo’, in T. Corrigan, Film and Literature: An Intro­duction and a Reader. Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 158-62.
Barthes, R. (1988 (1968)) ‘The Death of the Author’, in D. Lodge (ed.) Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. London and New York: Longman, 167-72.
Bassnett, S. (2002 (1980)) Translation Studies. London and New York: Routledge.
Bazin, A. (1967a (1958)) ‘In Defense of Mixed Cinema’, in H. Grady (ed. and trans.) What is Cinema?, vol. 1. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 53-75.
—— (1967b (1951)) ‘Theater and Cinema’, in H. Grady (ed. and
trans.) What is Cinema?, vol. 1. Berkeley and Los Angeles:
University of California Press, 76-124. —— (1981 (1957)) ‘La politique des auteurs’ [extract], in J. Caughie
(ed.) Theories of Authorship. London and New York:
Routledge, 44-6. —— (2000 (1948)) ‘Adaptation, or the Cinema as Digest’, in J.
Naremore (ed.) Film Adaptation. London: Athlone, 19-27. Beja, M. (1979) Film and Literature. New York and London: Long­man. Belsey, C. (1980) Critical Practice. London and New York:
Routledge. Benjamin, W. (1968 (1936)) Illuminations. New York: Harcourt,
Brace & World. Bluestone, G. (1957) Novels into Film: The Metamorphosis of Fiction
into Cinema. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Boyum, J. G. (1985) Double Exposure: Fiction into Film. New York:
Universe Books. Buscombe, E. (1981 (1973)) ‘Ideas of Authorship’, in J. Caughie (ed.)
Theories of Authorship. London and New York: Routledge,
22-34. Cardwell, S. (2002) Adaptation Revisited: Television and the Classic
Novel. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Cartmell, D. (1999) ‘Text to Screen: Introduction’, in D. Cartmell and
I. Whelehan (eds.) Adaptations: From Text to Screen, Screen
to Text. London and New York: Routledge, 23-8. Cattrysse, P. (1992a) Pour une théorie de l’adaptation filmique: Le film noir Américain. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. —— (1992b) ‘Film (Adaptation) as Translation: Some Methodologi­cal Proposals’, Target: International Journal of Translation
Studies 4 (1), 53-70. Cohen, K. (1979) Film and Fiction: The Dynamics of Exchange. New
Haven and London: Yale University Press. Corrigan, T. (1991) A Cinema Without Walls: Movies and Culture
after Vietnam. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. —— (1999) Film and Literature: An Introduction and a Reader.
Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice-Hall. Eisenstein, S. (1999 (1944)) ‘Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today’,
in T. Corrigan Film and Literature: An Introduction and a
Reader. Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 135-47.
Elliott, K. (2003) Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ellis, J. (1982) ‘The Literary Adaptation: An Introduction’, Screen 23 (1), 3-5.
Foucault, M. (1986 (1969)) ‘What is an Author’, in P. Rabinow (ed.) The Foucault Reader. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 101-20.
Hodgdon, B. (2002) ‘From the Editor’, Shakespeare Quarterly 53 (2), iii-x.
Jauss, H. R. (1982) Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Trans. T. Bahti. Intr. P. de Man. Brighton: Harvester.
Jameson, F. (1991 (1984)) ‘The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’, in F. Jameson Postmodernism, or, the Cultuiral Logic of Late Capitalism. London and New York: Verso, 1-54.
Lehmann, C. (2001) Shakespeare Remains: Theater to Film, Early Modern to Postmodern. Ithaca and London: Cornell Univer­sity Press.
McFarlane, B. (1996) Novel to Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. Oxford: Clarendon.
Marsden, J. I. (1995) The Re-Imagined Text: Shakespeare, Adapta­tion, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
Naremore, J. (1990) ‘Authorship and the Cultural Politics of Film Criticism’, Film Quarterly 44 (1), 14-22.
—— (2000) ‘Introduction: Film and the Reign of Adaptation’, in J. Naremore (ed.) Film Adaptation. London: Athlone, 1-16.
Orr, C. (1984) ‘The Discourse on Adaptation: A Review’, Wide Angle 6 (2), 72-6.
Ray, R. B. (2000) ‘The Field of “Literature and Film”’, in J. Naremore (ed.) Film Adaptation. London: Athlone, 38-53.
Rothwell, K. S. (2004 (1999)) A History of Shakespeare on Screen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sheen, E. (2000) ‘Introduction’, in R. Giddings and E. Sheen (eds.) The Classic Novel: From Page to Screen. Manchester: Man­chester University Press, 1-13.
Stam, R. (2000) ‘Beyond Fidelity: The Dialogics of Adaptation’, in J. Naremore (ed.) Film Adaptation. London: Athlone, 54-76.
—— (2005a) Literature through Film: Realism, Magic, and the Art of Adaptation. Oxford: Blackwell.