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TALK Film Study -- Ready Any Good Films Lately?--The Art of Adapting Literature for the Screen

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 12666 72 Avenue Surrey, BC, V3W 2M8 Canada (map)

“Do you think it would be fun—” Fiona shouted. “Do you think it would be fun if we got married?” He took her up on it, he shouted yes. He wanted never to be away from her. She had the spark of life.   --Alice Munro, “The Bear Came over the Mountain” (1999)

No debate: literary texts, whether they be novels, plays or short stories, have always been rich source material for the film adaptation. Although the literary work is usually considered the "original" and the film the "copy," sometimes it is the film that leaves the more indelible mark on the audience. Think Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) or Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972), both of which have eclipsed their literary counterparts to become artistic creations in their own right. In other instances, the literary and cinematic texts stand on equal ground as works of art that tell a compelling story. Such is the case with Sarah Polley's Away from Her (2006), a cinematic reimagining of Alice Munro's short story, "The Bear Came over the Mountain." Both are meditations on the drift in a marriage that mental illness--specifically Alzheimer's--can highlight. Both are poignant testimonies to the power of memory, forgetting, and selfless love. Join us to investigate how Munro's short story and Polley's film are deeply in conversation with one another. Is the book always better than the movie? Find out in this film study.