Postmodern film adaptation
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Chapter one explores the reflexive nature of Stephen Daldry's The Hours (2002) as an adaptation from two previous novels: Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours. Through the motif of mirror images, the film consciously acknowledges its history of adaptation, the reflections creating a meta-textual theme. The film comments on its postmodern nature through its style, while it simultaneously exists as a product of the postmodern condition. Applying the concepts of Baudrillard and Jameson, the film is a meaningless image of an image of an image as a condition of the act of adaptation. The next chapter analyzes three cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. While George Cukor's Romeo and Juliet (1936), attempts realism by emulating its source as a theatrical medium, Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version borrows images from Cukor's film and places its concern for film art and not as an adaptation. Baz Luhrmann's 1996 postmodern version ironically incorporates allusions from various Shakespeare plays and the previous two film versions. Luhrmann uses allusions, a media theme and a contemporary soundtrack to criticize a postmodern world and film industry driven by consumer culture. The film manages to simultaneously create a product of mass consumption and reflexively criticizes itself by paralleling such postmodern concepts of Baudrillard's hyperreality, Eco's ironic quotation and Jameson's consumer capitalism. The last chapter describes Woody Allen's unique adaptation filmmaking style. Through his various films, such as Annie Hall (1977), Stardust Memories (1980) and Interiors (1978), Allen borrows cinematic allusions from directors Ingmar Bergman and Sergei Eisenstein. In Love and Death (1975), Allen's film emulates a postmodern pastiche by juxtaposing various pictorial allusions. The film consciously acknowledges the meaninglessness of its various modern allusions. Love and Death comedically illustrates Jameson's negative concept of pastiche and its affect on removing high serious meaning from art. By analyzing three variations of postmodern cinematic adaptation in the context of postmodern theory, this thesis attempts to understand the purpose and challenge of postmodern film adaptations. Each film's conscious effort to address itself as an adaptation and product of the postmodernity open questions about endemic postmodern element of the medium.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 74-78).
Brannon, Courtney Elizabeth (2004). Postmodern film adaptation. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from