Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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Bazin Adaptation Response

September 7th, 2011 by martinvukaj · 2 Comments · ¶4 Bazin

After reading the essay written by Bazin numerous times and thoroughly going over the arguments presented in the piece, I found it rather intriguing. Although the sopisticated language was somewhat of a barrier (that’s what dictionaries are for) and the audience he wrote to was seemingly a group of experts in the field of film adaptation, the essay itself presented itself with crucial points in which Bazin seem to argue about.

Bazin, throughout the essay, showed examples of what many critics thought of adaptations. In the fourth paragraph Bazin begins to talk about metaphysics of film adaption. In my rather brief knowledge of metaphysics, the argument presented that I have conjured is that of what is a  real adaptation? What are the standards of which to follow from adapting a book to a movie? And what makes it a good adaptation? (third page, 2nd full paragraph) Bazin argues that books do not have to be exactly replicated to their counterparts on screen. Then in the next paragraph he lists the “hard-liners” argument, saying that a book being adapted to film should contain “sufficient faithfulness to the spirit of the original.” But Bazin understands that a book and its film counterpart cannot be word for word exactly the same, that films are “condensed versions, summaries” of the books.

I have also drawn from the reading, albeit a strong opinion, that Bazin suggests the best adaption of a work is before an author puts pen to paper to write a novel, that the work, whether a novel or film, is envisioned prior the writing. In the last sentence of the essay Bazin says, ” Malraux made his film Of Man’s Hope before he worte the novel of the same title, but he was carrying the work inside himself all along.” I have deduced that, given all the arguments presented in the essay, Bazin implies the works, literature or film, are envisioned by the beholder in their mind in film form. Yes, this may be a bit of forward thinking, going on just one piece of evidence, but in part, it is very true. How do you think the greatest pieces of literature and film were thought out? Obviously they represent interaction between people and its like the visionaries saw how the situations would be played out in their heads, almost like a film. The best example I can render is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I had read the book, chapter by chapter, I read with the characters shown in my head. I would go on the descriptions based on the book and try to fit actors and actresses in the faces. My rambling could go on forever, but I feel that there is some truth in what Bazin ended the essay with.

The back and forth arguments in Bazins essay, Adaptation, or the Cinema as Digest are plentiful. Although I have only analyzed two points in which I thought were most important, these are obviously opinionated. Some may share similarities in their views upon the essay and many may object. But, adaptation is a personal vice. There has been many remakes of movies, and novels and not every single one has been faithful to the original, so my final quote to leave on is rather a cliche one, and may not subsequently serve justice to film but that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Food for Thought, Arriverderci.


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2 Comments so far ↓

  • allymunks

    Don;t worry about the cliche, if it serves it purpose, it works, right? I love that you’d end on that note because that’s exactly what I came out of the essay realizing. And trust me, I thought I was pretty well equipped with my vocabulary but this essay wasn’t always easy to read. I found myself stuck on some sentences, because you know, maybe after th 5th try, it’ll actually sink in.

  • martinvukaj

    haha yeah definitely about the vocab. I always write down the words and define them and just read over again. but after reading your essay and mine, we share similarities in our opinions espcially about the directors personal vision of how to create their own film, like you said just to get the main points across.

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