The Film Ain't Like the Book

Course Leader: Dr Nicoleta Cinpoes

Home Institution: University of Worcester, United Kingdom

Course pre-requisites: Students with interest in literature and film.

Course Overview
This module invites students to bring their experience of book reading and film viewing to develop a critical awareness of the relationship between literary texts and their cinematic counterparts in the process of adaptation. We will explore adaptation both as product and as a process, will analyses literary texts and films, reflect upon ways in which the two can be compared and contrasted, and explore the differing relationships a film can have with its source text. In the process, students will build the toolkit to critically discuss adaptation: from the vocabulary for film analysis to specific techniques of representation, shifts of genre, form and style presented by the texts and films to be studied.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. identify the principal issues arising from the adaptation of literature into film;
  2. analyse critically film and literary texts in terms of their similarities and differences, using appropriate film vocabulary;
  3. develop an understanding of the specific techniques of representation, genre shifts inherent in the process of adaptation;
  4. communicate information, analysis and critical interpretation through a variety of presentation formats (in class debates, comparative close reading, film reviewing).

Course Content

1. Introduction: The film ain’t like the book!

2. Adaptation: product and process

3. Speaking the adaptation lingo

4. Literature goes to Hollywood

5. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

6&7. Romeo and Juliet – dir. Baz Luhrmann

8. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

9&10. Alice in Wonderland – dir. Tim Burton

Instructional Method
A blended-learning approach will be used during the course consisting of short exposition, online resources, in-class screening and workshops. Through pair/group work, students will be encouraged to discuss theoretical concepts introduced in the course and to apply them to specific text and film examples introduced in the course. Finally, students will be supported to reflect on the material studied in critical and creative ways.

Required Course Materials
Course materials will be shared and discussed with students during the course. A portfolio of subject specific critical sources will be made available prior to the commencement of the course (both online and in print). 


Set Texts:

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland – any print edition or

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet – any print edition or


  1. Participation (10%): the module welcomes your wider experience of reading and film viewing, and invites you to employ it in the module work in class and outside it. A great deal of analysis and discussion can be achieved when everyone is adequately prepared, and your active participation will contribute to your final grade.
  2. Short clip analysis (30%): mid-course assessment of knowledge and terminology acquired, to be applied through close reading of a film clip.
  3. Film Review (60%): final creative piece on one of the films studied.