Film Adaptation Theory

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It is amongst the discourse surrounding the original and creative that adaptations spark debate. They tend to occupy the ‘gray area’ that exists between the innovative and the derivative. Amongst adaptation theory, there has been much discourse surrounding specifically film adaptations, with some critics deeming films to be failures due to the parameters the source text places on the film. On the other side of the debate, there are those who subscribe to the thought that in order to be faithful, one must replicate the source text exactly with no room for variations, as they would taint the ‘memory’ of the source text. However, I shall argue that adaptations, whilst drawing on themes and plot from their original source text, cannot simply be…show more content…
He points out that no adaptation can simply be a replication of another due to the intertexutual factors that are necessary to make up any given text within modern society (Stam 2005 p31). A text cannot be fully understood merely by its relationship to its source text; other factors are inherently present that causes it to differ from its source. Stam (2005) also states that there is a ‘whirl of intertextual references…an endless process of recycling, transformation and transmutation, with no clear point of origin’ (p31). This clearly positions adaptations as stand-alone texts, and presents them with a need to be analyzed as such, and not in constant comparison to their source texts. There are also many other factors that must be thought of when addressing or passing judgment on any adaptation. Desmond and Hawkes (2006) reference two such elements as being the story and the discourse (p39). The story comprises the content behind the narrative, such as the events, characters and setting; whereas the discourse is the means by which the content is communicated, or as Desmond and Hawkes put it “the story is the ‘what’ in the narrative that is depicted, the discourse is the ‘how’” (2006 p39). Desmond and Hawkes (2006) however do note that with an “indefinite number of interpretations available,” fidelity no longer seems a compulsory criterion, especially in regard to the discourse of the film (p2). With the growing advancements in technology, as well as the shift from single track to multi-track layering that films offer audiences, the discourse of a film adaptation will inevitably alter from its original source. This in turn causes an inherent subversion of fidelity and ensures
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