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Week 2

On Adaptation and Film Analysis

The fact that films, just like any type of literary work, painting, photograph etc can be considered text
and accordingly analysed, has long been established. Unlike text analysis, film analysis in its written
form can only transpose in a different code a visual text. A complete film analysis should include
references to all the elements involved in film production and script, according to their degree of

visual elements: description of objects, characters, actions, relationships; colours, lights,

setting, movement
film narration: montage, editing
sound: noises, music, quality of the sound, accents/tones of voice

Seeing a film is a neuter activity which does not involve the viewers analytic assessment whereas
watching and re-watching a film means analysing it. The analysis is conditioned by frequently
replaying the film, stopping it, analysing shots, scenes and sequences, playing forward. The common
trap of film analysis is the superficial approach due to only seeing the film once and the danger of not
paying attention to significant detail, to fugitive scenes. The opposite trap might be too detailed an
analysis which ignores or overlooks a general significant due to a microscopic attention to details.

Cinema analysis increases the pleasure of understanding the film

- goes beyond its function of entertainment
- renders the film alive by activating its potential significances]

Film analysis:
1. recording the first impressions, intuitions related to the film launching hypotheses
2. deconstructing the film into smaller units: separation, comparison, contrasting
3. establishing and analysing the relationships among these isolated smaller units (importance of
transitions, juxtapositions etc.)
4. documentary research: informative texts upon film production, film reception, authorship,
actors, critical reviews etc.
5. analysis of the script: plot, characters, themes, story, diegesis (the story and its fictional
universe), narration (content and expression)
6. placing it in a context (film genres)

focalization mental

point of view visual

- narrative
- ideologic

point of hearing

briefly narrating a film and describing it are the first steps of interpretation
semantic/ critical analysis studies the means of organizing structural elements, making
sense of visual elements;
production of significances,
establishing connections btw what is expressed and how it is expressed
socio-historical analysis analyses the way in which the film constructs an ideal world that
established complex relationships with the real world
presents a specific point of view upon society

focus upon: social roles and relations, types of fights and confrontations, means of
representing social organizations, hierarchies, relationships
means of conceiving time (individual, social, historical)
what is required from the viewer: identification, sympathy, empathy
symbolic analysis deciphers symbolic elements that sometimes acquire a particular
cultural significance
Focus upon: metaphors and metaphoric sequences repetition and insistence, amplification,
Film Analysis
Step 1 = duration of the film; parts/subparts criteria of analysis visual / narrative/ sound/ dramatic
Step 2 = description of the film placing it in a context, spotting genre features
Step 3 = Segmenting the film into smaller units according to space/ time/ points of transitions /
narrative coherence
Step 4 = Establishing the point of view, the type of focalization; importance of space
Adaptation Analysis
- pre-analysing each text (both literary and cinematographic)
- analysing the degree of similitude btw titles, characters, contexts
- choosing a type of analysis

analysing the relationship btw the number of pages and the duration of the film
analysing the choice of suppressed scenes or condensed/emphasized scenes
comparing the general structures of the two
character analysis: suppressions, additions
dramatisation of events differences in tones, atmospheres
visualizing characters feelings
contrasting themes, structures, details in case of free adaptations