Blog Response— American Splendor

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  1. Analysis of the Book

Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor is a comic book series based on Pekar’s life in Cleveland, Ohio. While most comic books are aimed towards a younger audience, American Splendor intended audience are adults. One of the major themes of the comics is realism, driving from Pekar’s own life experiences in Cleveland. It is the story lines of the everyday life that separates American Splendor from other comic book series.

  1. Analysis of the Film

The film version, American Splendor, was co-directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, dramatizes the life of Harvey Pekar both in the comics and real life. One of the unique aspects of the film is the decision to use the real Harvey Pekar in the film as well as Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar. The multiple versions of Pekar (himself, the actor, and comic book version) show how Berman and Pulcini used the “film-within-a-film” aspect in the film. Similar to the comic’s theme, realism also stands out in the film by the use of the multiple versions of Pekar. The film follows how Pekar became a comics writer and the struggles he endured throughout his life.

  1. Analysis of the Adaptation

The concept of realism used in the film version of American Splendor shows how Berman and Pulcini remained faithful to the comic book series. The mix of reality (the real Harvey Pekar and the actor playing him) and animation (the comic book versions of Pekar) presents how the directors used realism throughout the film. The directors stayed faithful to the comic book series by basing the movie on Pekar’s life experiences, but also showing the behind-the-scenes experiences that Pekar had during filming.

  1. Online Research on the Film

This article addresses the representation of Harvey Pekar in the film and how the film does not follow the traditional “Hollywood” direction.

This article compares how American Splendor adapted into film with less complexity than other film adaptations such as Jonze’s Adaptation.

In this article, the writer addresses the treatment of postmodernism and trauma throughout the film. The film shows how unique life can be as well as how painful it can become. The writer argues that Berman and Pulcini’s adaptation of American Splendor challenges the representation of life experiences, but still tried to remain faithful to the comic’s representation of life. It was their attempt on documenting real life experience by using the real Harvey Pekar and an actor portraying him.

  1. Critical Argument Paragraph

While American Splendor is based off a comic book series, and making the film completely animated might have been easier, the fact that it is mixed between real life and animation makes a unique adaptation. If the film was only animated, the directors and producers could have only used Harvey Pekar to voice the character, but the film would lose some of the sense of realism that is found in the comic books. Similar to the comic book series, the film uses Pekar’s life experience whether good or bad they may seem. Not only does the film present how Pekar became a comic book writer, it shows Pekar’s response to the idea of having a film about him. The film plays on the themes of the comic book series by making it a mix of real life and animated experiences. If the film was entirely animated, it would have lost the behind-the-scene perspective that shows the real Harvey Pekar’s experience throughout the film. It is the mix of real life and animation that makes the film unique and better portray the themes of the comic book series.

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Blog Response—Adaptation

Adaptation._film

  1. Analysis of the Book

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean is a non-fiction story about John Laroche and his poaching of wild orchids in Florida. The assigned reading introduced how Orlean and Laroche met as well as some background information on Laroche. The two major themes of the book are obsession and beauty.

  1. Analysis of the Film

Adaptation was directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. Inspired by Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, the film shows how (the fictional) Charlie Kaufman, played by Nicholas Cage, struggles to adapt The Orchid Thief into a screenplay. Although Charlie attempts to give the novel a faithful adaptation, he finds it impossible because of the unusable narrative. Similar to Tristram Shandy, the character is trying to find a way to adapt a book into a film. One of the themes that appear in both the book and film is the aspect of obsession.

  1. Analysis of the Adaptation

The film, Adaptation, shows the process of writing a screenplay about a book that is considered “unfilmable.” In many ways, the film confirms that Orlean’s book is too complicated to adapt into a film. That is likely the reason why Kaufman decided to insert himself into the film. Even though in the film, Charlie attempts to remain as faithful to the book as he can, the unusable narrative forces him to question his abilities. Several times throughout the film, Charlie refers to Darwin’s beliefs in evolution, and how species adapt to their environment. In the film, the viewer sees how Charlie evolves because he gets forced into adapting to an unknown environment (the unfilmable book).

  1. Online Research on the Film

In this online blog, the writer compares the book and the film, noting how the film shows the experience of writing a script while the book shows the experience of writing the book.

This article explains the writing process that Charlie Kaufman used as he was adapted The Orchid Thief into a screenplay.

The article addresses how Charlie Kaufman gave his characters multiple identities throughout the film. Kaufman creates a metanarrative to present the adaptation of Orlean’s book, but also the complicated process of writing a screenplay for it. He twists Orlean’s story to adapt it into a screenplay, but also creates his own world in it. The use of multiple identities show the viewer the Hollywood aspect of the film and the emotional and psychical changes characters develop through the writing process.

  1. Critical Argument Paragraph

While Adaptation has two stories that only interlock by the end of the film, removing one story would change the relationship of the film and book. In the beginning of the film, there is a clear separation between the two stories. The Laroche story is told as though Charlie is writing it. It shows Charlie’s process of developing a screenplay. Removing the Laroche story would change the film because it would show a writer attempting to adapt a complicated book into film. The film loses some of its faithfulness to the book if it left out Laroche’s story. Although the theme of obsession would still connect the film and book, the film would lose most of the book’s aspect. Removing one story changes the way the story is adapted into film.

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Film Treatment Paper—“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

  1. Concept

After receiving some time off of work, Bailey’s family decides to drive down to Florida from Georgia. As the family drives to Florida, Bailey’s mother tries to convince Bailey that a vacation in Tennessee would be better. She tells him that the children would enjoy a trip to Tennessee more than Florida because they had never been there. Throughout the drive, she attempts to convince Bailey and even shows him a newspaper article about The Misfit, a criminal that escaped the Federal Prison and is heading towards Florida. Awhile later, the family stops by The Tower, a diner ran by a veteran named Red Sammy. Grandmother and Red Sammy begin to reminisce about the kinder attitudes of the past as they watch Bailey’s children, John Wesley and June Star, acting rudely. After lunch, the family returns to driving down the Georgia highway and Grandmother tells the children a story about a house with a secret panel. The story excites the children and they insist on going to the house. Bailey gives in after a little resistance, and they drive off to a dirt road. Bailey takes a sharp turn, which results in a car accident in the middle of nowhere. The Misfit and his henchman show up and Grandmother immediately recognizes him. Even though she tries to convince The Misfit that he is a good man, the family meets an unfortunate end.

A couple of the exciting aspects of the adaptation would be the car accident and The Misfit’s manipulation over Grandmother. There a few moments throughout the story where someone in the family foreshadows a possibility of an accident before the car accident occurs. One example is that Grandmother dresses nice on the drive because she wants to be recognized as a lady in case something occurs on the drive. The scene when the family meets The Misfit and Bobby Lee, the henchman, the tone of the story takes a darker turn. The adults know that chances of escaping are slim, but Grandmother still tries to convince The Misfit that he is a good man. The Misfit manipulates the whole scene even though Grandmother continues to try to talk her way out of the situation. These are a couple of scenes that would have an interesting aspect to the story.

  1. Characters
  • Grandmother: A stubborn, old southern woman, who was born in Tennessee. She is widowed and lives with her only son, Bailey, and his family. She has a good sense of humor and loves to talk, but tends to be forgetful about places and problems. Although she helps take care of her grandchildren, she is not too close to them or her daughter-in-law. However, she deeply cares for her son and her cat, Pitty Sing. Her motives are to keep her family safe from The Misfit.
  • Bailey: A middle-aged man, married with three children. He lives in Georgia with his family and mother. He has a beer-belly, bald, and does not care for his appearance too much. Throughout the film, he should only be wearing comfortable clothing, such as T-shirts and khakis. He does not care too much about his mother or her opinions and likes to argue with her. His motives are similar to his mother, but he does not know how to manipulate the situation in his direction.
  • The Misfit: A runaway criminal who escaped from prison a week before running into the family. He is old enough to have strikes of gray hair. He wears silver-rimmed, round glasses that make him look educated. The children make him nervous and he does not like talkers. He grew up in a strict, religious home, but he does not believe in anything anymore. His motives are to take the family’s car and keep away from the authorities.
  • Red Sammy: An old, fat man who owns The Tower, a diner where the family stops to eat lunch. He is a veteran. Also, he is married to the family’s waitress, a tall, brunette woman. He bonds with Grandmother over the past. His motives are to warn the family about The Misfit.
  1. Themes

The major themes of the film would be manipulation, nostalgia, guilt, and dysfunctional family. Manipulation would be both humorous and threatening at the appropriate times. When the family is on the road and Grandmother tries to convince Bailey to go the house with secret panel, the tone of the scene would be humorous manipulation. However, when the family meets The Misfit, the tone changes to threatening manipulation. The Misfit tries to manipulate Grandmother’s intentions as Grandmother attempts to change The Misfit’s perspective. Nostalgia is one of the central themes that is featured in every scene in any form. Grandmother’s and Red Sammy conversation is filled with jokes about the past. Guilt is another theme that would appear during the family’s car rides and during their meeting with The Misfit. Every person in the film has some aspect of dysfunctional family affecting them. The family’s attitude towards each other is dysfunctional and they show it verbally and non-verbally.

  1. Location

The three locations of the film are inside the family’s car, The Tower (Red Sammy’s diner), and a dirt, abandoned road. The first location would be the inside of the family car. The car is an old five-seater car. The family is cramped into the car because it is too small for them to feel comfortable. The back seats are a mess with John Wesley and June Star’s comics and toys. There is barely enough room for Grandmother’s purse. The second location is The Tower, Red Sammy’s diner. Instead of a dance hall, as indicated in the short story, The Tower is a 50s-style diner. It is spacious and has many memorabilia from the 50s. There is a small jukebox at every table that plays classical 50s and 60s music. It appears ran down and less than pristine. Only one or two other customers are inside when the family enters the diner.  The final location is a dirt, abandoned road, located somewhere off the Georgia highway. A photo of the proposed location can be seen in the appendix. It is a wooded area, slightly hilly with an endless dirt road in both directions.

  1. Action Scene

The dirt road that Bailey is driving on has many potholes and bumps, which he attempts to avoid. The car’s lights are on high beam because there is a thick fog around the area.  One sharp turn makes the car drive off the dirt road and towards the edge of the hill. It is too late to regain control over the car and it falls down the hill. The car flips over once, and everyone gets thrown towards the front window. The car lands sideways on the edge of the hill, where there is another dirt road a few feet away. The engine groans, the car lights begin to blink on and off until the car engine dies. In the distance, there is another car coming down the dirt road, towards the family. The noises coming from the unfamiliar car gives the family some hope for help.

  1. Dialogue Scene

The Misfit—Good Afternoon, I see you’ve had a little accident here.

Grandmother—We turned twice!

The Misfit—Once, actually. We saw it happen. Hey Bobby Lee, would ya check their car? See if it runs?

John Wesley—Why do you have a gun? Whatcha gonna do with it?

The Misfit—(turns towards Mother)Lady, do you mind telling your kids to sit? Children make me nervous.

Mother—Come here.

Bailey—Now listen here, We’re in a little predicament, but we’re…

Grandmother—(interrupting, yelling) You’re The Misfit!

The Misfit—Yes madam. But it probably would’ve been best if you had kept shut. (Grandmother cries) Now, now, don’t get too upset, Madam.

Grandmother—You wouldn’t shot a lady, would you?

The Misfit—I would sure hate to.

Grandmother—Now, listen, I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit bad at all. I know you must have come from a good family.

The Misfit—Yes Madam, had the finest parent in the world. Ma was the kindest lady God ever made and Pop had the pure gold heart.  (Turns to Bobby Lee) Watch the kids, Bobby Lee, you know I ain’t too fond of kids.

  1. Pitch

“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor would adapt well into film because it has many themes that can easily translation to film. Instead of an original story, a literary adaptation would show the visual aspect of the story. Even though it is a short story, it has many parts that could be developed in a film. It is a detailed story that could explore the relationships of the characters more in a film adaptation. The adaptation would focus more the characters and their attitudes. There is little that could be omitted in the film adaptation without losing the major themes of the short story. A couple of the parts that would be omitted are the beginning scene of the short story, which takes place in the family’s home, and the dance hall restaurant. The beginning scene in the short story could easily take place in the car instead of the family’s home. Red Sammy’s dance hall restaurant would be turned into a rundown 50s diner. The themes of guilt, manipulation, nostalgia, and dysfunctional family would carry over to the adaptation. The audience that enjoys mystery and humor would like this type of film. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” explores the changes over time in a twisted way that would be worth a film adaptation.

Maayan Rosen

June 22, 2015

Appendix

Photo of the Dirt Road

dirt road

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Blog Response – The Hours

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1. Analysis of the Book

The Hours by Michael Cunningham describes the lives of Virginia Woolf, Clarissa Vaughan, and Laura Brown, and how one book, Mrs. Dalloway, connects the lives of the three women together. Through the assigned readings, Virginia Woolf commits suicide and Clarissa Vaughan plans a party for her sick friend. In the novel inspired by the real Virginia Woolf, the three women live in three separate decades (1920s, 1950s, and 2000s). The novel is written as a long stream of consciousness of the women. Its themes include death, mental illness, and LGBT issues.
2. Analysis of the Film
The Hours’ film adaptation was directed by Stephan Daldry and released in 2002. Similar to its novel counterpart, the film  focuses on the lives of Virginia Woolf, Clarissa Vaughan, and Laura Brown. It stays true of the novel’s themes by showing how death is dealt between the women and how mental illness impacts their lives. Each woman is forced to deal with her own different problems, but they are all interconnected in some way.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation
The film adaptation of The Hours stays true to Michael Cunningham’s novel. Daldry spreads the three different stories throughout the film and shows how they interconnect with one another. He shows how each woman deals with mental illness and human responsibilities that everyone faces. The film successfully keeps the novel’s message and themes by focusing on the characters’ emotions.

4. Online Research on the Film
Kate Kellaway’s interview with Stephan Daldry shows that Daldry knew the risks in filming The Hour, but he loved the form of the novel and the different emotional impacts it had.
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2002/dec/08/features.review

Robert Ebert’s review argues that the film focuses more on the responsibilities of humans and their emotions rather than the three women’s understanding of their sexuality or feminism.
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-hours-2002

In Andre Soares’ review of The Hours argues that while the story is deeply moving, Laura Brown’s story is the weakest of the three women. Another problem that Soares had was with Ed Harris’ portrayal of Richard as only an angry AIDS victim. There was never a sense from Harris that Richard had any other emotion but bitterness about his sickness. On the other hand, Soares praises Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman’s performances as Clarissa and Virginia Woolf as moving and emotional. Even though there were several elements missing from the film the film still offers human drama and hits strong emotions.
http://www.altfg.com/blog/gay/the-hours-meryl-streep-nicole-kidman/

5. Critical Argument Paragraph
Stephan Daldry’s The Hours show the impact of avoiding life and human responsibilities. Many times throughout the film, all three women are faced with life challenges that are unavoidable. While the side characters attempt to bring the three women back into the realities of the situations, the women try to avoid their responsibilities until after the consequences appear. In Virginia Woolf’s story, Woolf clearly shows her frustration in writing and in life. Even when her husband and sister attempt to help her with her mental illness, they only drive her into a deeper depression. On the other hand, Clarissa uses Richard’s illness to avoid life. She puts Richard’s life before anything else, and risks her relationship with Sally and her work. Although Virginia ends up committing suicide, Clarissa is forced to face the consequence of avoiding her life when Richard commits suicide in front of her. Clarissa gets thrown back into the responsibilities of her own life after Richard’s suicide because her wall is broken down. After being able to avoid her life for so long, Richard’s death shakes her down and she starting feeling guilty for using Richard’s illness to avoid her life. The Hours shows the consequences that three women face by avoiding their lives and problems.

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Blog Response—Sherlock Holmes

sherlock holmes

1. Analysis of the Book (Story)

“The Mazarin Stone” by Conan Doyle shows the wit and mystery that Sherlock Holmes represents. In the short story, Holmes is placed on a case to retrieve the Mazarin Stone that Count Sylvius had stolen. Holmes tells Dr. Watson to call the police while he interrogates the Count about the location of the stone. After seemingly going nowhere with his interrogation with the Count, Holmes tells his page, Billy, to being up the Count’s helper, Sam Merton, and leaves them to chat. The Count reveals that the stone is in his pocket and the two get arrested. The themes of humor, justice, and mystery are all incorporated in the short story.

2. Analysis of the Film

Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes puts Holmes in the middle of the supernatural world. Set in Victorian England, Holmes, with his partner, Dr. Watson, attempt to stop Lord Blackwood from taking over the world. The film is a classic hero vs. villain/good vs. evil scenario. Even though Blackwood warned Holmes that people will die regardless of Holmes trying to stop him, Holmes does not stop until he finds Blackwood. Much of the film’s themes are justice, violence, humor, magic, and supernatural. The film has several energizing scenes that highlight the action and violence of it. Although the film received mixed reviews, the film gives new energy to Sherlock Holmes.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

While Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes is not a direct adaptation of the Conan Doyle stories, it does share some of its themes. Mystery, justice, and humor are still evident in the film as much as they are in Doyle’s “The Mazarin Stone.” Both the film and the short story receive the Holmes justice, with the villain receiving his punishment. Downey’s Holmes appears as witty as Doyle’s Holmes. However, some of the themes that Richie puts into the film tend to overpower the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The violence and action scenes do energize the film, yet some parts of the film are over-the-top. While the film might not be a faithful adaptation of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, it does bring new energy to his character.

4. Online research on the Film

Robert Ebert argues that even though Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes does not remain overly faithful to the Conan Doyle stories, it is still entertaining enough to not be bothered by it.
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/sherlock-holmes-2009

Tom Charity notes in his review on the attempt of the film to connect with Conan Doyle’s own interest of the supernatural and how Robert Downey Jr.’s humor as Holmes makes up for the other missing aspects of Holmes that get lost in the film.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/24/review.sherlock.holmes/

Michael O’Sullivan argues that Guy Richie’s version of Sherlock Holmes has a bit of everything except for the true Sherlock Holmes that Conan Doyle wrote about. The film mixes aspects from James Bond, Harry Potter, and Batman into it, which overpowers its literary predecessor. While there are some scenes that are truly exciting, other scenes appear to be over-the-top and silly. Richie tries so hard to make his own version of Sherlock Holmes that it comes off as childish rather than original
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/24/AR2009122401075.html

5. Critical Argument Paragraph

One of the major flaws of Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes is turning a detective film into a hero vs. villain film. While in Doyle’s “The Mazarin Stone” Holmes is presented as a hero-type by retrieving the stolen stone, when you strip down the character, Holmes is simply a detective trying to do his job. In the short story, Holmes does not resort to violence to retrieve the stone and even tells the Count to put his gun away. Rather than using violence, Doyle’s Holmes uses his wit and detective skills to find the location of the stone. Richie’s film is so full of hyper-violent action sequences that it becomes more of a superhero film rather than a detective film. The film version of Sherlock Holmes is not simply trying to save Victorian England, but the world itself from the villain. It does retain some of the mystery that “The Mazarin Stone” has, but there is not enough of it. In “The Mazarin Stone,” there is the feeling of hero vs. villain, but it is overshadowed by Holmes’ skills and humor. The first idea associated with Sherlock Holmes is that he is a brilliant detective, but the film promotes the hero type before the detective.

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Blog Response—Bride and Prejudice

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1. Analysis of the Book

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is set in nineteen century England where the Bennet family is trying to marry off their daughters to respectable and wealthy men. The novel is centered on the Bennet family, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s relationship. Several of the themes in the novel are class, reputation, gender, and love. The novel shows how women in nineteenth century England were expected to behave and the mannerisms they had.

2. Analysis of the Film

“Bride and Prejudice” is a Bollywood version of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” and directed by Gurinder Chadha. The colorful visuals and musical numbers throughout the film give a unique perspective on the nineteenth century novel. Set in Amritsar, India, Mrs. Bakshi is determined to marry off her four daughters to respectable men. The film’s Elizabeth Bennet is Lalita Bakshi, who is a stubborn, strong-willed woman. While Lalita resists Mr. Darcy at first, they slowly grow closer on a flight between London to Los Angeles. The main themes of the film are culture, imperialism, and economics. While the Bollywood style is colorful and filled with “feel good” moments, the musical numbers overpowers the main story several times throughout the film.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

While the film, “Bride and Prejudice” mostly stays faithful to the story of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the major themes of the film differ from the novel it was adapted from. A few of the major themes of Austen’s novel, gender, class, and reputation, are replaced in the film by the focus of culture, economics, and imperialism. The themes that Chadha chose relate more to India and Bollywood than the themes of the novel. Chadha modernizes the story by giving the film issues that the Indian culture has since becoming an independent country. The multicultural aspect that Chadha adds in her film gives the story of “Pride and Prejudice” a new perspective. Even though the film and the novel are similar story-wise, the novel’s themes and language get lost in the Bollywood version. Chadha seems more determined to show the Bollywood style of the film than fully adapt Austen’s novel into film. It is a colorful film about a love story, but it loses the Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” somewhere in all the musical numbers.

4. Online Research on the Film

Manohla Dargis’ review of “Bride and Prejudice” in the New York Times described the film as an overly-clichéd version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Bollywood mixed in.
 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/11/movies/mr-darcy-and-lalita-singing-and-dancing.html?_r=0

While praising the performance of the lead actress, Aishwarya Rai, Robert Ebert calls Gurinder Chadha’s adaptation of Austen’s pride and prejudice free-spirited that has a mix of everything.
 http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/bride-and-prejudice-2005

Suchitra Mathur looks at the film’s text and how it creates a bridge between Hollywood and Bollywood. In the terms of characters and themes, the film mostly remains faithful to the novel. However, it also undermines some of the serious text of the novel with singing and dancing. She writes:

“Instead of attempting to render the target language transparent, making it a non-intrusive medium that derives all its meaning from the source text, Bride and Prejudice foregrounds the conventions of Bollywood masala films, forcing its audience to grapple with this “new” language on its own terms. “

Rather than giving the film a neutral language that people who enjoy Bollywood or Hollywood films, it forces the viewer to adapt to a Bollywood style language. The film minimizes the original text and spends more time on the Bollywood perspective. It remains more faithful to Bollywood rather than the original text, which it was inspired from.
http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php

5. Critical Argument Paragraph

“Bride and Prejudice” has several entertaining moments, but the “feel good” nature and musical numbers slowly become more overwhelming as the film progresses. The colorful visuals that Chadha uses make the film enjoyable to watch. The snake dancing was both weird and fun to watch. However, the “feel good” nature became more redundant as the film continued because it felt that the issues being brought up were second to the musical numbers. The dinner scene when Mrs. Bakshi suggests a courtship between Lalita and Mr. Kholi, the viewer sees how disgusted Lalita is by the idea. Rather than have a character-developing moment with Lalita and her mother by talking about the issue of marrying Mr. Kholi, who is wealthy, but also rude and inappropriate, the next scene jumps into song and dance that mocks the man. There are several other moments that the film jumps into a musical number when it could benefit more from a talk. The film seems to use the “feel good” nature and musical numbers as a way to not discuss the major issues or events of the story.

Word Cited

Suchitra Mathur
“From British “Pride” to Indian “Bride””
MJC Journal
May 2007
http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php

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Blog Response— Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

tristram shandy

1. Analysis of the Book

“Tristram Shandy”by Laurence Stern is a satire novel about the life and opinions of Tristram Shandy. Stern describes Tristram’s life and eighteen century culture humorously as the events of Tristram’s life unfolds. The major themes throughout the novel are self-consciousness, procrastination, and satire. It focuses on the digression of the narrator from one topic to another. The novel also draws on the reader’s opinions as a way to make the novel engaging.

2. Analysis of the Film

Similar to the novel, Michael Winterbottom’s version of “Tristram Shandy” focuses on the satire, self-consciousness, procrastination, and the out-of-time experience that the novel brings out. The film’s self-consciousness is the film-within-a-film concept, which drives the film. The digression of the film is explored through the idea that no one in the film seem certain about what the main theme of the film should be, so it jumps between the romance and action aspects. If one layer omits one aspect that the novel has, that aspect would appear in another layer of the film that would not necessarily connect to the novel. It mocks itself and shows the problems filmmakers have while attempting to film movies.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

Throughout the film, many people point out that the novel is unfilmable because of its length. While the film succeeds in capturing the novel’s spirit, it uses the novel’s themes in proving that the novel is hard to be adapted into a film. The film mocks the process of filmmaking and turning a literary work into a film. The frustration in the novel is mirrored in the film by the layers of film-within-a-film concept. One layer shows the “Tristram Shandy” film, but another layer shows the problems that the cast and crew members have because of the film.

4. Online Research on the Film

Noel Murray’s review of “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” comments on how the film did not add anything unique to the film-within-a-film concept and complains that Coogan’s character is unappealing.
http://www.avclub.com/review/tristram-shandy-a-cock-and-bull-story-4117

David Edelstein’s review calls the film a “hall of mirrors” that does not necessarily tease the viewers, but shows a different perspective of filmmaking.
http://nymag.com/movies/reviews/15631/

Robert Ebert’s review of the film comments on the similarities that “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” had with other films that have the film-within-a-film perspective. It pokes fun at the digression aspect of the film by also jumping from one topic to another. Much like the novel represents procrastination, the film uses it to show that the novel is unfilmable by the other layers of the film. Also, Ebert praises the film’s aim of showing that life on a movie set can create close relationships between cast and crew members.
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/tristram-shandy-a-cock-and-bull-story-2006

5. Critical Argument Paragraph

The film, “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” successfully converts the major themes of the novel to the film even though the themes are not used in the same way. While the satire, self-consciousness, and procrastination are used to move the narration along in the novel, Winterbottom uses the same themes to develop the layers of the film that are not the fictional Tristram Shandy film in it. The film mocks its process of filming and constantly reminds the viewer of the film-within-a-film idea. The procrastination is in the problem of choosing the major plot of the film and the process of filming. However, the romance and action parts that are cut from the fictional film layer are found in the behind-the-scenes layer of the film. Winterbottom successfully takes the major themes of the novel by Laurence Stern and uses them to show the process of filming a movie that was deemed unfilmable.

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