Seymour Chatman argues in his essay that narrative films ‘do not allow us to dwell on plenteous details. Pressure from narrative component is too great. Events move too fast’ (Chatman 126). As I read this article, this sentence struck me. Do we lose the beautiful narrative from a novel when it is transformed into an adaptation film? Does a film move too quickly that it is impossible to evoke everything in the initial narrative in a novel?
Seymour Chatman would argue that yes, a film moves too quickly and loses the narrative from the novel it is adapting from. He says, “Indeed, there are movies (like Terence Malick’s recent Days of Heaven) which are criticized because their visual effects are too striking for narrative line to support. Narrative pressure is so great that the interpretation of even non narrative films is sometimes affected by it- at least for a time, until the audience gets its bearings” (126). I think what he is saying is that the narrative in a novel is just too big, has too much of an affect on the reader, that it is hard to transform that onto a movie screen. The Media wants the film to be a certain length, and most movie goers aren’t intent on sitting in a movie for over three hours without losing their attention, so it’s extremely difficult to have the same affect as the novel. Would I agree with this? I think in some regard it’s inevitable to believe that it is hard to transcend the same feeling in a narrative of a novel into a narrative of the film adaptation. I do think that maybe it is not such a bad thing that the narrative is different in both novel and film; it allows for different interpretation and different pieces of art. The director may see a certain narrative in a novel as something totally different then say, we would. But I think that this is the beauty of literature; that different narratives can be transcended into different artistic pieces based on one’s own interpretation.