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Life and Meaning > film vs. books

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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
What do people think...is film another form of literature. Does Casablanca deserve to stand up as a creative work in comparison to the Great Gatsby? I know compared to books, film is relatively new but I do think they both come from the same general creative spring.


message 2: by Tina (new)

Tina I totally agree. I was an English major in college and the curriculum of the school I went to considered film as a form of text. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite classes was called "reading" film noir.

Also, in my opinion, one need only to look at a tv show like HBO's The Wire to find great literature as well. Having watched all four seasons and currently watching the last, I have often (loudly and annoyingly to all who will listen) have proclaimed that this is no mere tv show. It is like watching a great work of epic fiction unfold.

message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I am in total agreement...I remember seeing Harlan County USA and the film diary of a country priest along with reading flannery o'connor in a course...all went together well.

message 4: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (target) | 10 comments I definately agree that film is another form of literature. In my college English class we watched...shoot, I can't remember what it was...but we watched a movie.

message 5: by Salma (new)

Salma I agree with Ajanta and Ashley. Of course, great films add richness to one's life, but for me, books have left an imprint on my mind that movies usually haven't. Because, I guess, you're actively engaged with imagining the way the characters look and sound, the way they interact (and a good writer always leaves stuff to the reader's imagination)- so it's almost as if you've been involved in creating the story as well- in a way. And movies don't give that kind of satisfaction.

message 6: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
Films are more specific but it really is another form of art...equally great...watched Double Indemnity tonight...tremendous shadows, etc.

message 7: by Nada (new)

Nada (nusch) | 1 comments Whether film is a form of literature or not depends on your definition of literature. In any case, film definitely is a text that can be dissected and analyzed just like a book can be dissected and analyzed. If you think about it, we “read” film (I actually like to read subtitles even if it’s not a foreign film) just like we read a book: we analyze plot, character development, themes, symbols, but instead of talking about sentences, paragraphs and chapters, we talk about shots, scenes and camera movement and angles…
Film is ultimately a collaborative art form (from writing and acting to lighting, props, sound and costumes). But some film directors like Bergman, Fellini, Kurosawa, Scorsese, Allen… are considered auteurs (which is basically the French word for author) because they are the primary creative force behind their films. They usually oversee the entire project, from writing the screenplays to directing and editing their films, and their filmic style is readily identifiable in their entire body of work. I think their films can be considered as a form of literature.
Now comparing books with their film versions is a bit tricky. Our imaginations are always richer and more powerful than anything we can possibly see on a screen, and we are often left unsatisfied after watching the film version of a book we have loved (unless the director’s vision and interpretation coincides 100% with our own). But instead of rating the film based on our personal expectations, maybe we should think of it as a translation of the literature. Just like a work of literature can be translated into different languages, it can also be translated into film. In essence, film becomes another language, an audio-visual language. Consider Kurosawa’s Ran as an example. Shakespeare’s King Lear set in feudal Japan??? I would have never imagined it in a million years, but it works! The colors, the sounds, the framing of the shots, the cutting of the film... Kurosawa is a master storytelling and the film is a cinematic masterpiece; the battle scenes are poetry in motion! This piece of "literature on celluloid" is as rich and powerful as any literature on paper.

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