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Translating Words into Visual Signs: Face Photography in The Summer of Aviya and The Island on Bird Street

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The article has two purposes: (1) to provide a theoretical framework for dealing with a specific aspect of adaptation: the use of face photography in general, and close-ups of the face in particular, to depict an inner world which literature describes by using words; (2) to examine the applicability of this framework by analyzing face photography in two films: The Summer of Aviya and The Island on Bird Street. Based on works from various disciplines (semiotics, cinema studies, philosophy), the article suggests that face photography does not just replace literary devices, rather, it brings its own meaning into the adapted works. The films under consideration have been selected not only because face photography is significant in both of them, but also because they deal with a highly charged topic the Holocaust and use face photography to evoke moral dilemmas related to it. The way the films handle these dilemmas is especially important because both of them are directed toward children and may affect the way their young viewers perceive and judge people's behaviour during and after the Holocaust.
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Keywords: Holocaust; adaptation; close-up; face photography; intersemiotic transfer; translation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bar Ilan University.

Publication date: 01 February 2009

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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