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In Film Adaptations of Literary Texts, it is not Fidelity that is Important, but Authenticity and a Sense of Aura - Essay Example

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In Film Adaptations of Literary Texts, it is not Fidelity that is Important, but Authenticity and a Sense of Aura

Film makers rush to purchase new novels that present some possibilities of adaptations. Film making is a risky and expensive business. A film based on a bestselling novel will surely attract a lot of buyers and will be a financial success. However, a close analysis of the existing film adaptations of literary texts prove that in film adaptations of literary texts it is not fidelity that is important, but authenticity and a sense of aura. Fidelity simply refers to the level of faithfulness, loyalty, or how accurate a copy is to its source. In film adaptations, it refers to the level of film’s faithfulness to the original text or to the degree of filmmaker’s faithfulness to the ideas and perceptions of the novel writer. Authenticity refers to devotion to, commitment to, or truthfulness of, origins. Just like in any other artwork, authenticity in film adaptations refers to inherent or original authority, genuineness of expression, sincerity and moral passion of the text writer that were conveyed in the film (Dutton 2003). This is called expressive authenticity. Nominal authenticity refers to the rightful identification of the author of a text, how closely the film performance conforms to the intentions of the text author or his or her artistic tradition. Giving a film a sense of aura means giving a story a better illumination or retelling it in an interesting way compared to the way it is originally presented. There are a bunch of reasons that make it worthwhile to focus on authenticity and the achievement of a sense of aura during film adaptations instead of maintaining a strict faithfulness to the original text. One of them is the need to avoid a monotonous repetition of a novel story. The audiences of the film already know the story in the novel very well, and thus there is no need for a complete duplication of everything in the novel. People may not be motivated to buy the film if it merely makes a one-to-one reproduction of the novel. An adaptation instead should de-emphasize elements of suspense in the story and concentrate on detail and phrasing. Making some changes during film adaptation is not only practically unavoidable, but also essential as mandated by medium and time constrains. Some film theorists argue that film directors should go ahead and produce a film without being concerned about the source at all. These theorists assert that a film is a film and a novel is a novel, and thus the two art works should be two separate entities. They also argue that the transcription of a literary text into a film is impossible, and trying to stick to the goal of accuracy is, therefore, absurd. Another group of film theorists argue that the role of film adaptation is to change a source to meet certain demands. In this case, a film adapted from a literary text should be accurate to the message, theme or the effect (aesthetical impact) of the source novel. However, the filmmaker must introduce a number of changes where necessary to ensure that the film maximizes faithfulness to the novel along one of the three axes (theme, message, or effect) and meets the demands of time. A filmmaker for, example, cannot make a direct replication of a novel written in the 18th or 19th centuries, because several social, economic, political, and cultural transformations have taken place in virtually all societies since then, so this should be partly reflected in ...Show more
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Summary

In Film Adaptations of Literary Texts, it is Not Fidelity That Is Important, but Authenticity and a Sense of Aura Stories are derived from other stories, and so film adaptation of a literary text is not a new phenomenon. A film adaptation of literary texts involves the translation of narratives expressed through writings and retelling them through a language of moving pictures and sounds…
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