Journal Article

The ‘Flashing Glimpse’ of Cinephilia: What an Unusual Methodology Might Offer Adaptation Studies

David T. Johnson

in Adaptation

Volume 6, issue 1, pages 25-42
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI:
The ‘Flashing Glimpse’ of Cinephilia: What an Unusual Methodology Might Offer Adaptation Studies

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Over the past few decades, adaptation studies has drifted further and further from the interests of cinema and media studies, as indicated in two collections—one from 2011, another from 2000—that find some of the best writers in English-language cinema and media studies scholarship claiming that much recent research on adaptation has been either misdirected or otherwise lacking in intellectual worth. Rather than attempt to correct this erroneous assumption, however, this essay takes the volumes’ attitudes as symptomatic of a profound disconnect between adaptation studies and cinema and media scholarship more generally, and it posits that cinephilia, an unusual methodology that has seen a recent resurgence in interest, may offer a useful way to address this divide and may equally benefit adaptation studies quite apart from its relationship with cinema and media scholars. The piece outlines some historical reasons for both sets of scholars seeing their interests as discrete, and it then explores a key moment from an early piece of writing by Sergei Eisenstein, one that combines the interests of adaptation, cinema studies, and cinephilia. From there, the essay explores the ‘flashing glimpse’ of cinephilia’s focus on the momentary encounter and questions raised therein, and it proceeds to suggest how cinephilia’s unusual approach to writing holds great promise for adaptation studies. Finally, it ends with a brief example from the adaptation Fast Food Nation (Richard Linklater, 2006) to show how these ideas might work in practice.

Keywords: Cinephilia; adaptation studies; cinema; media studies

Journal Article.  10374 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Film ; Television

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