Literature Into Film Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Film -- Kundera, the Unbearable Lightness of Being

When Milan Kundera wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he was a political exile from Czechoslovakia, living in France, whose books were banned in his native country. Thus, it is not surprising that his fiction addresses oppression and its instruments, particularly language. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera's character, Tomas, is converted from surgeon to window-washer for refusing to cooperate with the authorities. Unlike Malcolm's subject, however, Tomas comes to find this transformation a personal reprieve, a feeling which is aided by the numerous sexual dalliances his new position affords him. Kundera's portrayal of Tomas's fate and his book's success in the west only exacerbated the sense of injury felt by those who had stayed in Czechoslovakia and had lived out the reality that Kundera 'improved on' in his fable of totalitarianism.

Thesis Statement

The novel is primarily philosophical and ironic, lacking vivid characters and compelling plots. An additional obstacle is that the novel's protagonist is its narrator, who cannot be present in the film, but the result is more entertaining and stimulating than might have been expected. In my opinion the philosophical aspect of the book gives Kaufman a free hand to delve heartily into presenting the audience with his philosophy of life as well as the characters point-of-view. It plays out beautifully.

Philip Kaufman's Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), meticulously and stylishly explores the compensatory strategies that the Russians concoct for finding freedom in their everyday lives. The two main strategies are those of sex and of art. America is present in The Unbearable Lightness of Being only as one possible refuge from Russian oppression and only one of the three central characters chooses it. Perhaps more than any other film of the decade, The Unbearable Lightness of Being denies the faceless dehumanization of the rightist militarist films and affirms the humanity of the real people who live behind the iron curtain. In her teasing way, Sabina asks Tomas, "Are you only seeking for pleasure or is every woman a new land that you wish to explore?" In eighties film, the new land that Americans wished to explore was Russia, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being was the most humanistic and least sensational of explorations.

Daniel Day-Lewis has said that when he first read Kundera's novel he considered it un-filmable, and several of the reviewers of THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING agreed with its star's initial judgment (Magill's Survey of Cinema, 1995). Kaufman and his co-screenwriter, Jean-Claude Carriere, decided to present their impressions of the novel with no pretensions of strict faithfulness. In addition to eliminating the omnipresent narrator, the most significant change is that the disordered events of the novel are presented in chronological order in the film, except that Sabina is notified of her friends' deaths before the viewer knows about their fates. The film is less philosophical and ironic than the novel, more obviously political, more blatantly erotic. As a result, it is more realistic and less whimsical than the book. While Kundera's characters are pawns on an intellectual chessboard, Kaufman and Carriere have turned The Unbearable Lightness of Being into a tale of the conflicting emotions of the protagonists.

The style of The Unbearable Lightness of Being is that of Georges Rouault clear bright strokes combined with textures layered on with a palate knife. Set in Prague in 1968 at the time known as "Prague Spring," which was a brief flowering of freedom of speech and artistic expression, a so-called "socialism with a human face" before the Soviet tanks closed everything down as they had done in Hungary a decade earlier, and like Roualt's paintings, the coarse textures of the city in the first third of the film contrast to the romantic gossamer of the provincial forests in the final third. These two sections are composed as paintings, while the middle third of film, the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and the flight of the major characters from that repression to Geneva, captures the violence of the political conflict in stark black-and-white terms. Two mediums, the painterly medium of romance and the realistic medium of photography, represent how sexuality and imagination, love and art, must struggle constantly against the weight of political oppression.

The three major characters Tomas…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Literature Into Film" (2005, October 20) Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

"Literature Into Film" 20 October 2005. Web.24 October. 2016. <>

"Literature Into Film", 20 October 2005, Accessed.24 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Bible as Literature 6 Movie

    The life and death of Jesus Christ especially him being the founder of the Christian faith should always have a universal appeal to all peoples from all walks of life and all ages. This has always been the foundational precept of the establishment of the Christian faith. However, in Gibson's The Passion, the universality was not adhered to especially when it was given an R-rating as a result of the

  • Eastern Influences on Western Philosophy Culture Literature Art Film...

    East/West An Analysis of Eastern Influence in Western Art The American/English poet T.S. Eliot references the Upanishad in his most famous poem "The Wasteland," a work that essentially chronicles the break-up of Western civilization and looks to Eastern philosophy for a kind of crutch in the wake of the abandonment of Western philosophy. Since then, Westerners, whether in literature or in film, have continued to look to the East for inspiration and

  • Film Sarah and James by Nikowa Namate

    film Sarah and James by Nikowa Namate offers an opportunity to reflect on the deeper themes in light of several film theories including Freudian theory, Queer theory, and an understanding of realism, naturalism, and kitchen sink drama. This essay will offer a nuanced and thorough analysis of my role in the filmmaking experience. In Sarah and James, I played the role of James, one of the title characters. As

  • Film Analysis of Double Indemnity

    Cain (afterward coupled by Mickey Spillane, Horace McCoy, and Jim Thompson) -- whose books were also recurrently tailored in films noir. In the vein of the novels, these films were set apart by a subdued atmosphere and realistic violence, and they presented postwar American cynicism to the extent of nihilism by presuming the total and hopeless corruption of society and of everyone in it. Billy Wilder's acidic Double Indemnity

  • Movies and Methods Volume I

    Not only does Nichols provide a good context for the many paradoxes that can confront film studies with his insightful and thoughtful introduction, but he also shows how sharing approaches and methods can help to stimulate a lot of the best writing regarding film. In addition he shows many of the common problems that are seen and deals with the contradictions that appear. Like the first volume of the anthology,

  • Film Theory Film and Reality

    The spectator is unwittingly sutured into a colonialist perspective. But such techniques are not inevitably colonialist in their operation. One of the innovations of Pontocorvo's Battle of Algiers is to invert the imagery of encirclement and exploit the identificatory mechanisms of cinema in behalf of the colonized rather than the colonizer (Noble, 1977). It is from within the casbah that we see and hear the French troops and helicopters. This

  • Film Leverage

    Film Awards The film industry produces experience goods for consumer enjoyment and consumption, and substantively relies on consumer differentiation for the economic success of movies. Moviegoers appear to differentiate films primarily on the basis of genre, starring actors, exposure to promotion, recommendations from other moviegoers and film critics, and -- for the dedicated film buffs and connoisseurs -- directors, cinematographers, and even screenwriters associated with the film production (Albert 1998, De

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved