History, Adaptation, and Appropriation in Cinema
his article, “History, Adaptation and Appropriation in Cinema”, based on descriptive and analytical approach, tries to clarify new less known theoretical perspectives towards history, narrative and adaptation. The importance of the issue is intensified by the increased number of films adapted from historical texts. In other words, history texts have always been a source for film production, especially historical film that form a considerable film genre. Although, already there are some published books on the subject of film adaptation, they have been, however, rather focused on practical aspects than theoretical frameworks. The same is true about dramaturgy as treated in most of theatrical books and journals. In the first section of this paper, action of adaptation, kinds of adaptation, action of appropriation and its relation to the action of adaptation are explained. Furthermore, the relation of the action of adaptation and such issues as literary theft are more developed and discovered. Exploring different aspects of the action of appropriation, new metaphors are introduced which explain the action more thoroughly. Another topic discussed in this section, based on Robert Stam’s concepts of adaptation, deals with the impact of new metaphors on the theory of adaptation. This article also borrows many ideas from Julie Sanders’s famous book Adaptation and Appropriation which deals exclusively with the issues of adaptation and appropriation in films adapted from literary and history texts. The final part of this section explores the relations between Darwinian world, evolution process, and the world of adaptation. Second section of the article deals with the relation between history and narrative, and the relation of history texts to cinematic or literary adaptations. The main topics of this section include: new developments in the theories of history, their impact on the field of adaptation, fidelity to the history, and originality of historical narratives. It is argued that in a historical drama, the very history text could be considered as the main source of the narrative. Reacting towards this kind of historical drama, however, some history scholars try to measure the drama against its degree of fidelity to the historical facts, by establishing a kind of historical determinacy as the evaluation criteria in appraising such adapted works. One of the most controversial issues in this field – the issue of fidelity – is the topic of the third section of this paper. Other topics dealt with here include: the (im)possibility of fidelity in the action of adaptation, the effects of such theoretical approaches as structuralism and post-structuralism, originality and its discourse, and the impact of digital media and new technologies on the theory of adaptation. Also, Gadamer’s notion of “fusion of cultural horizons” is deployed as a means to explain the process of adapting historical texts into films. Furthermore, such important issues as intertextuality between historical text and cinematic adaptation, and the interaction through fusion of cultural horizons, are explained. Some of the other topics discussed here are: the impact of theoretical turns of history theory and adaptation theory on film adaptation, and evaluation of such cinematic adaptations.
Honar-Ha-Ye-Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye Mosighi Va Namayeshi, No. 46, 2012
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