The transmutation of feminist critique from novel to film the case of Les fous de Bassan
Date de publication2000
To contribute to the study of patriarchal correction in the remediation of Canadian letters, this dissertation explicated some of the key transformations which Yves Simoneau's film adaptation made to the feminist critique of patriarchal society inscribed in Anne Hébert's novel Les Fous de Bassan. To accomplish this task, I did comparative close readings using analytical concepts applied by feminist literary and historical theorists, such as Diana Fuss, Marilyn French, Adrienne Rich, Gerda Lerner and Rosalind Coward. To unmask subtle as well as obvious transformations, I considered symbolic, psychological, structural and sociopolitical aspects of the two texts and paid attention to the cinematic creation of meaning. The study of the film adaptation found a vast array of deviations from the novel that, in large measure, either attenuated, sidelined, cut or otherwise undid the source text's underlying critique of the fate of women in patriarchy and their concomitant resistance to their social situation. Because of the highly targeted nature of the modifications and the non-cinematic explanations for most of the transmutations, I conclude that Simoneau makes them largely for ideological reasons, which situates the adaptation within the social backlash against feminism of the 1980's.