From the birth of cinema to the present, screen adaptations of literary works have taken various forms, sometimes offering a form faithful to the original or a modern reinterpretation, and sometimes even presenting radical adaptation that is almost unrecognizable. In this sub-section of Cinema & Literature, the director, both as a reader and a creator, explores the relationship between his own unique creation and its original.
Hou Hsiaohsien’s Flowers of Shanghai presents a fascinating reinterpretation and cinematic embodiment of Han Ziyun’s 1892 novel The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai by, which was the first serialized novel in China. Hailed as the epitome of French epistolary literature, Dangerous Liaisons (1782) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos has been made into several films. In Lee Jaeyong’s Untold Scandal, the French aristocrats caught up in deception and betrayal in the original novel are replaced by those who secretly yet boldly vent their desires in the Joseon Dynasty steeped in Confucianism. João César Monteiro’s Snow White marks a complete departure from the previous version of the ancient folktale by Brothers Grimm or the Disney film of the same title that served as an important part of our childhood. Based on Swiss author Robert Walser’s new version of the story, the director expands his experimental imagination. The screening of each film will be accompanied by a talk with researchers on the cinematic transformation of the original work.