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English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies


Chris Freeman


Both novelist and film-maker have stories to tell and both create a vision of their stories for their readers and viewers, one with words on a page, the other with pictures and spoken dialogue. A novel's descriptive passages may be very detailed or leave the reader with large visual gaps, whereas each frame of the film fills the viewer's vision with scrupulously attended images, from the props to the setting to the costumes to every gesture and expression of the actor. A novel allows the reader to pause, ponder, reread, and detect subtleties; a film takes the viewer by the hand at its own pace. But film, not being limited to the medium of language, also has the privilege of working with the media of vision, sound, lighting, set, and spatiality. The relationship between Kazuo Ishiguro's fine first-person narrative and the artistic Merchant Ivory film adaptation is especially fascinating to explore.