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Who’s the Fairest?: Adapting Snow White

Mar 16, 2016

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Who’s the Fairest?: Adapting Snow White. HUM 2085: Film and Television Adaptation Summer 2013 Dr. Perdigao May 23, 2013. Film as Medium. Cinema—from Greek kinein (to move): movie, film (Dick 2) Text—from Latin textum (that which has been woven) (2) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Whos the Fairest?: Adapting Snow WhiteHUM 2085: Film and Television AdaptationSummer 2013Dr. PerdigaoMay 23, 2013

  • Film as MediumCinemafrom Greek kinein (to move): movie, film (Dick 2)

    Textfrom Latin textum (that which has been woven) (2)

    Film as hybrid artdraws on theater, painting, music, dance, mime, photography (2)

    Narrative filmtells a story

    Film as narrative told through sound image, builds to a climax and culminates in a resolution (4)

    Movie time vs. running time: movie time manipulates real time (8)

    Roland Barthes theory of the readers role in the textno longer a consumer but producer (269), basis of reader-response criticism in the 1970s

    Applying models of interpretation from literature to the medium of film

  • Literary TechniquesFlashback (Dick 270)-may be introduced by a slow fade-out/fade-in, dissolve, wipe, or quick cut-furnishes information that is otherwise unavailable, dramatizes a past event as it is being narrated, or explains the connection between past and present when none of the characters can do so (270)Flash-forward (271)-popular since the 1960s-some aspect of an event is shown before it occurs-related to the literary foreshadowing or prolepsis (rhetorical technique in which a speaker anticipatesand answersan objection before it has even been raised) (271-272)Point of view (272-273)-first person film, with voice-over narration, subjective camera-third person narrationomniscient camera, likened to omniscient narrator

    Henry James center of consciousness or reflector, identification with one character (274)

  • Transforming the Fairy TaleMetamorphosis is central to the fairy tale, which shows us figures endlessly shifting their shapes, crossing borders, and undergoing change (Tatar 55).

    Idea of shape-shifting, transforming physical body as well as identity

    For Tatar, stories as shape-shifters

    Finally, the transformative magic in fairy talestheir spells, curses, and charmslead to metamorphoses that enact the consequences of magical thinking. And yet the transformation of beasts into princes or boys into hedgehogs, as children quickly learn, is possible only in the world of stories. Even as fairy tales ultimately debunk magical thinking, showing that it works only in the realm of story, they also affirm the magical power embedded in language, the way that the ability to use words can grant a form of agency unknown to the child who has not yet fully developed the capacity to use language. (Tatar 57)

  • Fragmentation and CohesionThe Grimms seem here to stay, and yet, what we find of Grimm and of fairy tales in the United States seems often to take the form of cultural debris, fragments of once powerful narratives that find their way into our language to produce colorful turns of phrase. In the media, we read about a Goldilocks economy, about the Emperor's new clothes, and about Sleeping Beauty stocks. In popular send-ups of the classic plots, the purpose is usually to mock the values found in the earlier variants, whether it is the virtue of selfless industry or a lack of vanity. (Tatar 58)

    The Grimms tales seem to have a ubiquitous cultural presence, even if they appear adapted, refashioned, reconfigured, and often profoundly reinvented. Even as fairy tales transform themselves, they seek transformative effects, producing what Graham Greene refers to as excitement and revelation. (Tatar 59)

    The curses, spells, and charms of fairy tales are far removed from what Austin describes as the performative, for they have the unprecedented power to create real physical change, not just the power to perform rituals that produce a change in legal or official status or to persuade, support, or discourage. It may be true that we talk about language as having somatic effects (words can wound or have the power to assault us), but, in fact, it is only in fairy tales that they are endowed with the capacity to produce real physical change. (Tatar 61)

  • TransformationFor children, all adults possess wizardry in their control over symbolic forms of expressionthey can create illusions, effect changes, and take on agency through words. The child reading a book, by learning about the magic art of the Great Humbug, can begin to move from the childhood condition of lacking the words needed to name, describe, and define what affects us. Fairy tales help children move from that disempowered state to a condition that may not be emancipation but that marks the beginnings of some form of agency. (Tatar 63)

  • Retelling the Story of Snow White2012: Tarsem Singhs Mirror Mirror, Rupert Sanders Snow White and the Huntsman, and ABCs television series Once Upon a Time

    Retellings reflect the contemporary culture surrounding the production (or reproduction of the story)

    The Brothers Grimms adaptation of own sourcesfrom first publication to revisions, alterations of language, development of narrative voice of the stories (homogenization), expanding the stories to allow for inclusions of morals (comparison to Peter and Wendythe narrators control over the ending)

    Brothers Grimm text as educational tool, new marketingtaking stories from literate adult audience to children

    From literary fairy tale to reflections of a more popular culture

  • Grimm RevisionsSnow White as less sexualized story than Little Red Riding Hood so less sanitization but alteration of character, narrative

    Alteration from role of the Evil Queenjealousy of Snow Whites own mother in early version

    Snow Whites redefined rolescook, clean, wash, knitconsistent with conduct books of the period: gender roles prescribed with women as modest, submissive, selfless

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

  • Disneyfication of Snow WhiteFramed with a book as establishing shot

    Revision of details of plot

    Mirrors and other reflective surfaces

    Identity and performance

    Love story

    Awakening of Snow White contingent upon Princes kiss

    1930s gendered stereotypes

    Disneys as dominant version, rewriting how culture remembers the story

  • The Uses of Enchantment and DisenchantmentBruno Bettelheims The Uses of Enchantment (1975)

    Psychoanalytic readings of fairy tales

    Therapeutic benefit to reading fairy tales

    Rivalry with the parent, Oedipal/Electral struggle for power and supremacy

    Queens jealousy as projection of childs own ideasturning jealousy into that of the other, for Bettelheim

    Snow Whites desire to kill parents

    Less literally, freedom from parents, individuation

    Snow Whites maturation before second death threat, stops childs development into adulthood

    Story of psychological growth, development and maturation into adulthood

  • Mirrors and IdentityPsychoanalytic readings, uses of the mirror, from Jacques Lacan to Christian Metz on film

    Jacques Lacans The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I (crits, 1966)

    6-18 months old

    Introduction of the Ideal I

    The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipationand which manufactures for the subject, caught up in the lure of spatial identification, the succession of phantasies that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I shall call orthopaedicand, lastly, to the assumption of the armour of an alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure of the subjects entire mental development (4)

    Janet Strayers Trapped in the Mirror (1996): mirror as compelling character in narrative, projection of societys desires, the male gaze echoed in film

  • Contemporary Culture1970s and 1980sfeminist theories, ideas about the self, language in critical theory, New Historicism

    New retellings and critical rereadings

    Readings shifting focus from psychoanalytic to classed societymaturation into contemporary society, prescribed roles for men and women; revisions to parody those roles

    Feminist readings to challenge the passivity of the princess character and to humanize the Evil Queen

    Role of the Evil Queenpower, as masculine rather than feminine, the making of the female monster, even a cannibal (Snow White and the Huntsman?)

  • The Brothers Grimms Snow WhiteStory begins with queen sewing, in the middle of winter

    Needlethree drops of blood fell onto the snow: white as snow, red as blood, black as the wood of the window frame (167)

    Snow White reaches age sevenmirror answers Snow White is more fair

    Lungs and liver rather than heart

    Beauty saves her from the huntsman

    Finds dwarfs cottageGoldilocks revelation

    Delight at her beauty

    Asked to keep house, cook, make the beds, wash, sew, knit, keep everything neat and tidy (171)

  • The Brothers Grimms Snow WhiteQueen filled with envy

    Disguiseworst fear, old woman

    Offering pretty things

    Dwarfs save her from the staylace

    Caution to Snow Whitefails to heed, three times

    Red and white of the appleduality, good and evil of stories

    Dwarfs mourn Snow White for three dayswant to bury her but she still looks to be alive

    Glass coffinso they see her from all sides

    Name in golden letters

  • The Brothers Grimms Snow WhiteMarriage upon her awakening

    Stepmother invited

    Now replaced by young queen in mirrors response

    Punishmentiron slippers; dance until death

  • The Brothers Grimms The Three Little Men in the WoodsWidow and widower, two daughters

    Bathe in milk and drink wine

    Wicked stepmother

    Thrown out into winter landscape to fetch strawberries

    Meets dwarfs, given gifts for charitymore beautiful each day, gold pieces falling from mouth, king makes her his