“Exploring Adaptation and Author Involvement: A Formalist Analysis of Literature in Film”

Students must choose from one of the following (you cannot choose anything we have used in this class):
a. An adaptation of a work of literature (play, short story, novella, novel, poem, song lyric, essay) where the author of the work of literature has some input into the adaptation of his/her work (examples:  in charge of the script / screenplay adaptation [example:  Yukio Mishima wrote the screenplay adaptation of his own short story “Patriotism”], the director of the adaptation [example:  Yukio Mishima directed the adaptation of his own short story “Patriotism”], part of the cast (actor) of the adaptation [example:  Yukio Mishima playing the role of Shinji Takeyama in the adaptation of his own short story “Patriotism”], producer of the adaptation [example:  Yukio Mishima was a producer on “Patriotism”]).
b. A film that focuses on the life of an author based on biographical / autobiographical materials (example:  the life of Yukio Mishima in Mishima: a Life in Four Chapters).
2. There are three goals of the project:
a. To analyze both the play and the film using the text and film formalist elements.  It is not expected that all elements will be used in the student’s essay.  Students should focus on formalist elements that feature prominently in the text and film chosen (Chapter 3 in WaM and lecture materials from Week 2).
b. To evaluate the film as an adaptation of the text / biopic of the author’s life.  Focus of this discussion should include what type of adaptation the film is (loose, intermediate, close – even when discussing biopics), why it constitutes that sort of adaptation type, what was added / cut / kept between the text and the film adaptation, and whether the film was a successful adaption and explain the reasoning behind that position (lecture materials from Week 1).
c. If you choose (a) from above, how does the involvement of the author in the adaptation influence the film, if at all?  Is the involvement positive, negative or negligible?  Be specific.  If you choose (b) from above, you will need to research the life of the author in order to see how accurately (or under / overstated) the life of the author is portrayed.
d. To use outside research to expand the analysis / discussion of the text and/or film (if you choose (b) from above, your research must include, but not necessarily be limited to, biographical information on the author)Students are encouraged to use more than this, but three is the minimum.  Suggestions for sources that will help expand on the analysis are (but are not limited to):
a. Movie reviews (can be found online on IMDB.com – do notuse the User Comments, you want to use actual critical reviews)
b. DVD extras
c. Actor / director interviews
d. Historical / biographic information
e. Scholarly articles written about the play and/or film
f. Psychological theories connected to character motivation
g. Investigation of music used in the score

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