Filmmaking by the Book: Italian Cinema and Literary Adaptation

Overview

What is the impulse to transform literary narrative into cinematic discourse, and what are the factors that determine that transformation? In Filmmaking by the Book, Millicent Marcus considers the adaptive process as the sum total of a series of encounters: the institutional encounter between literary and film cultures, the semiotic encounter between two very different signifying systems, and the personal encounter between author and filmmaker—sometimes involving an overt ...

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Overview

What is the impulse to transform literary narrative into cinematic discourse, and what are the factors that determine that transformation? In Filmmaking by the Book, Millicent Marcus considers the adaptive process as the sum total of a series of encounters: the institutional encounter between literary and film cultures, the semiotic encounter between two very different signifying systems, and the personal encounter between author and filmmaker—sometimes involving an overt Oedipal struggle for selfhood.

Marcus explores that process by looking at key works by such major postwar Italian filmmakers as Visconti, De Sica, Pasolini, Fellini, and the Taviani brothers. Drawing on the methodologies of semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, and ideological criticism, she finds that cinematic imaginations typically employ literary texts self-consciously to resolve specific artistic problems. Each of the filmmakers studied here define their own authorial task in relation to that of the literary precursor, and insert "umbilical" scenes or "allegories of adaptation" to teach viewers how to read their cinematic rewriting of literary sources.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

MLN

An important and original book that breaks new ground and provides compelling interpretations of Italy's most important directors and their experiences with adaptations of literary works.

— Peter Bondanella

Italian Studies
Marcus' approach to her subject is extremely interesting. The result is a challenging book, packed full of new and original ideas... It is exciting, and it confirms Marcus' reputation as one of the most innovative Italianists working today.
MLN - Peter Bondanella
An important and original book that breaks new ground and provides compelling interpretations of Italy's most important directors and their experiences with adaptations of literary works.
Italian Studies

Marcus' approach to her subject is extremely interesting. The result is a challenging book, packed full of new and original ideas... It is exciting, and it confirms Marcus' reputation as one of the most innovative Italianists working today.

MLN - Peter Bondanella

An important and original book that breaks new ground and provides compelling interpretations of Italy's most important directors and their experiences with adaptations of literary works.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801844553
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Millicent Marcus is Mariano DiVito Professor of Italian Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Director of the Center of Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Literature and Film: Negotiating the Terms 1
1 Visconti's La terra trema: The Typology of Adaptation 25
2 Visconti's Leopard: The Politics of Adaptation 45
3 De Sica's Two Women: Realigning the Gaze 67
4 De Sica's Garden of the Finzi-Continis: An Escapist Paradise Lost 91
5 Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew: The Gaze of Faith 111
6 Pasolini's Decameron: Writing with Bodies 136
7 The Tavianis' Padre padrone: The Critical Acquisition of Codes 156
8 The Tavianis' Kaos: The Poetics of Adaptation 179
9 Fellini's Casanova: Adaptation by Self-projection 204
10 Fellini's La voce della luna: Resisting Postmodernism 225
Appendix: Film Synopses and Credits 249
Notes 271
Index 305
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