Atonement by Joe Wright: (re)writing and adaptation

Abstract : This chapter proposes an analysis of Joe Wright’s 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement. In particular it looks at how the novel’s major themes of storytelling and the ethics of fiction are translated to the cinematic medium. The paper shows how Briony’s problematic (re)writing of the past in Atonement is conserved in the film and expressed in cinematic terms, focusing particularly on the use of music and intradiegetic sound. Special attention is also paid to how questions of predestination and anticipation in the first part of the novel are rendered cinematically, and how these reinforce the ontological status of the film’s conclusion. Arguing against other critics that see a plurality of available realities in the film’s ending, the paper suggests that fatedness is a strong part of its discourse. Rather than rearticulating Briony’s fictional lie of a romantic reunion for Cecilia and Robbie, the film finds a new solution to the novel’s poignant coda, emphasizing the couple’s tragic delusion that their lives could simply resume after the war. Instead of relativizing the truth, we argue, the film reiterates the novel’s reflexions on the destructive power of lies and the need to dispel national myths, particularly as concerns the Dunkirk evacuation. In doing so, the film largely transcends the melodramatic elements and glossy production which initially seem to categorize it firmly in the costume drama genre and the broader British heritage industry.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
A diachronic approach to Ian McEwan's fiction: from sensationalism to ethical writing, Mar 2018, Caen, France
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Contributeur : James Dalrymple <>
Soumis le : mercredi 10 octobre 2018 - 15:01:43
Dernière modification le : mercredi 13 février 2019 - 14:18:02
Document(s) archivé(s) le : vendredi 11 janvier 2019 - 12:21:37


McEwan article + biblio DALRYM...
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  • HAL Id : hal-01885447, version 1



James Dalrymple. Atonement by Joe Wright: (re)writing and adaptation. A diachronic approach to Ian McEwan's fiction: from sensationalism to ethical writing, Mar 2018, Caen, France. 〈hal-01885447〉



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