Literature and Film

Currently, ‘Literature and Film’ is one of the most popular ‘suggested options’ under Part 4: Options (a bit confusing, to say the least, though it all shakes out as ‘Free Choice’, really). There are a lot of great ideas coming from creative classrooms and here are a few from workshop participants which you might not have considered.

Madame Bovary is not an easy text for many of today’s students, but using film can function as a complement to reading the novel.   Using more than one cinematic adaptation can give the whole project heightened interest, to say nothing about how a sense of context can be heightened and examined. Many people recommend the 1949 adaptation by Vincente Minelli as well as that of Claude Chabrol of 1991. A 2014 version is on Netflix, possibly less admired but more easily available. And there are others.  Assigning different versions to small groups could surely lead to some interesting comparisons, all with the goal of illuminating the novel.  I am always impressed with how long such projects stay with my students, to be invoked many years later.

Two other suggestions from Sahiba Al-Issa: The Road to Perdition, a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, adapted to a film, something that was also done also with Persepolis. ‘There is very little dialogue and surprisingly, interspersed with violence, is a most imaginative use of silence.’  Here’s a link that compares the text and the film: http://content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,321312,00.html

Another of her suggestions is Lars Von Trier’s adaptation of Medea.  ‘The settings used in the black and white version lend an even more sombre effect to the events.’

Film adaptations offer a rich seam of exploration for engaging students.  Given access to various devices that students use today, one positive evolution is that students can engage with these adaptations outside of classroom time, leaving us more opportunity for using clips and live discussion in our teaching time.

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