Film adaptation, global film techniques and cross-cultural viewing

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptation is often a transcoding into a different set of conventions, and here we argue that print to film adaptations introduce and depend upon a bundle of conventions and techniques which are already globalised and hence facilitate cross-cultural understanding more than print media might do. Films for children and young adults seldom reach a cross-cultural audience, but we contend that this is a consequence of uni-directional globalisation rather than any barriers constituted by the films themselves. In an analysis of narrative conventions and cinematic techniques in film adaptations from China, South Korea and Japan we show that cinematic features enable boundary crossing and ensure childhood experiences are intelligible cross-culturally. These features are broadly of two kinds: elements of narrative, especially global scripts, and cinematic techniques of cognitive and technical kinds. Scripts, whether of general types such as a children’s film structure or cause-and-effect structure, or thematic types such as the triumph of the underdog, are widely recognisable. We examine conceptual metaphors, which are intrinsic to human cognition, the visual strategy of emotional mirroring, and film as a metonymic mode which sustains a deeper significance while requiring minimal decoding activity on the part of viewers and promoting mutual understanding between cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • adaptation
  • cinematic techniques
  • global scripts
  • conceptual metaphor
  • metonymy
  • emotional mirroring


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