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English Through Film Adaptation Across Cultures. Juanita Huan Zhou York University English Language Institute Toronto, Canada < juanitaz@yorku.ca >. Outline. A Special Kind of Film Adaptation Rationale Objectives Approach Tasks of Comparison and Contrast Group Presentation Assignment

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English through film adaptation across cultures

English Through Film Adaptation Across Cultures

  • Juanita Huan Zhou

  • York University English Language Institute

  • Toronto, Canada

  • <juanitaz@yorku.ca>



  • A Special Kind of Film Adaptation

  • Rationale

  • Objectives

  • Approach

  • Tasks of Comparison and Contrast

  • Group Presentation Assignment

  • Sample Analysis

  • Conclusion

A special kind of film adaptation

A Special Kind of Film Adaptation

  • Hollywood Remakes of Films from Other Countries





  • Advantages over Literary Adaptation

    • Length, scope, vocabulary

  • Advantages over Stage Adaptation

    • Availability

  • Advantages over Hollywood Remakes of Classic Hollywood Films

    • Cultural diversity

    • Affective filter hypothesis



  • Developing cultural awareness

  • Developing critical thinking skills

  • Improving English language skills



  • A content-based seminar

  • In a university preparation program for ESL students

  • To students of lower-intermediate level and up

  • 12 lessons over six weeks, two lessons per week, 105 minutes per lesson

  • Limited to two pairs of films per session: First pair led by T; second pair led by Ss

  • Two-part viewing for each film

  • Rotate the pairs from session to session

Which pair

Which Pair?

Variety of Film Genres

  • Selection of the pairs of films to study in depth will factor in the following

Students’ Preferences

Students’ Nationalities

Students’ Ages

Students’ Religions

Tasks of comparison and contrast

Tasks of Comparison and Contrast

  • Compare the characters in age, occupation, marital status, personality, problems, motivations, etc.

  • Compare the casting decisions

  • Identify omitted, added, and combined characters

  • Identify omitted, added, rearranged, and modified scenes

  • Compare the endings

  • Compare the social issues raised

  • Compare the cinematic treatment of major scenes in terms of length, number of shots, type of shots, mise-en-scène, lighting, editing, soundtrack, etc.

English through film adaptation across cultures


Group presentation assignment

Group Presentation Assignment

  • Choose one of the non-American films shown in class; or one not shown in class; or a famous Hollywood movie. Imagine yourself as a filmmaker. If the original film were to be remade by you for audiences in your country, what changes would you make in the plot and characterization? Why? Who would you cast to play the main characters? Why?

Sample analysis

Sample Analysis

  • Shall We Dance? Vs. Shall We Dansu?

(USA, 2004)

(Japan, 1996)

Task one the heroes

Task One: The Heroes

Task two the heroines

Task Two: The Heroines

Task three added scenes

Task Three: Added Scenes

Scene of the Rumba

Scene of the Tango

Task four the endings

Task Four: The Endings



  • Morning: Wife’s note

  • After work: Undecided

  • On the train: Sees invitation

Task five film styles

Task Five: Film Styles



Culturally embedded film styles

Culturally Embedded Film Styles

  • Personal Space

  • Eye Contact

  • Need for Sensory Stimuli

  • Attitude Towards the Audience



  • It is not the purpose of the course to evaluate which film, culture, or ideology is better.

  • It is the hope of the course to help students understand how a culture or ideology presents itself and why it does so.

Credits of images

Credits of Images

  • http://www.bennadel.com/resources/uploads/no_reservations_movie_poster.jpg

  • http://richkleber.com/family/rich/moviereviews/moviereviews/movieimages/thedeparted.jpg

  • http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/sommersby.jpg

  • http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4nfE_zw3Tnw/S2ZvlbIBmrI/AAAAAAAAAO8/0ppzP7ArEeY/s400/the_lake_house.jpg

  • http://www.impawards.com/2001/posters/vanilla_sky.jpg

  • http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c200/dreamersball/birdcage.jpg

  • http://www.disneydreaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Three-Men-And-A-Baby1.jpg

  • http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/point_of_no_return.jpg

  • http://content7.flixster.com/movie/10/89/98/10899813_det.jpg

  • http://www.impawards.com/2004/shall_we_dance_ver2.html

  • http://www.movieactors.com/freezeframes33/ShallWeDanceUSA5.jpg

  • http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsG/6473-27248.gif

  • http://images2.cinema.de/imedia/2695/2302695,cco3qxjLvMXjAo3gDnzRhOFI61LbD0zPjeNoyonQG0juBIdgcna4JL5SCXXB2wTq8H0SWOYoM3UXHtvYWCQ3+A==.jpg

  • http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews37/shall%20we%20dance%20blu-ray/HF7Y2758_shall_we_dance.jpg

  • http://images1.asianmediawiki.com/images/thumb/d/d5/Shall_We_Dance%3F.jpg/250px-Shall_We_Dance%3F.jpg

  • http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/040927/040927_jlo_vmed.grid-4x2.jpg

  • http://www.torito.nl/tango/video/shallwedance_trailerpic100.jpg

  • http://www.pymmik.com/Shohei_Sugiyama1.jpg

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