There are two main reasons why numerous movie releases are still adaptations of literary works. The use of novels or plays as resources for films was initially a method by which the film industry sought to increase the status of the new medium by drawing the attention of fans of “high culture”. Another important reason is economic in nature: Best-selling novels or dramas are often the best advertisement for a movie.
Where the relationship between film-literature and adaptation / translation comes into play, film critics and academics are still not in agreement about this particular relationship. According to some, the filmmaker is a translator: he / she is busy with an intersemiotic translation; thus a translation from one sign system or mode to another. Others, such as Bluestone (2003), believe that adaptation delivers a completely different product, with different aesthetic conventions, because film is inherently quite different from literature. It is therefore futile to argue that film A is better or weaker than novel A. Each object is autonomous, with its own unique and specific characteristics. The filmmaker only processes a paraphrase of the word text and uses only its raw material. The filmmaker is therefore not a translator, but a new author or creator.
The notion of film and / in Afrikaans literature raises further questions: Are all Afrikaans texts equally suitable for adaptation? Why do some “inferior” novels become commercially viable films? How do fundamental differences between filmic and words texts – especially in how reality is represented – manifest in Afrikaans engaged literature (betrokke literatuur)? What affective experiences (or lack thereof) do Afrikaans film elicit in viewerships that differences in race or socio-economic aspects?
In attempting to answer these, volume 32 (3) of stilet.digital considers the varied ways in which:
- film adaptations or visual film translations of Afrikaans literature manifest in academic discourse,
- Afrikaans literature is used in films as intertexts,
- more general analyses on the relationship between film and literature,
- other adaptations / translations, such as TV adaptation and digital sphere adaptations, and
- figures, such as Jans Rautenbach and Katinka Heyns directed the Afrikaans film industry.
One-page proposals can be sent to issue editors, Adéle Nel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rikus Ströh (email@example.com), by the end of June. Final contributions (between 6,000 and 8,000 words in Afrikaans, English or Dutch) are expected by 01 November 2020, with publication in mid-2021.
Younger and emerging academics are encouraged to submit film reviews, film revisits, and interviews on the following:
films based on a novel/novelle (for example Triomf or ‘n Pawpaw vir my darling),
tv- or radio adaptations of novels (such as Deon Meyer’s Trackers),
secondary sources and non-fiction work on the Afrikaans film industry (Daar doer in die fliek; Jans Rautenbach. Dromer,
baanbreker en auteur).
General enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org