Chapter 4


The response of Dumas’ heirs was just as significant, but this time in the opposite sense, that of taking into account cinema’s singularity as a new adaptive medium: “Unlike illustration, the cinematic projection of a dramatic work gives rise to the depiction of an animated scene” (ibid., 245).

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In their response, Dumas’ heirs add that the adaptation “competes with the theatrical presentation of a dramatic work and not with the distribution of published versions of the work (Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 245). In terms of economic compensation at least, cinema thus finds itself in this case on the side of theatre. This proximity of the two forms of entertainment – and even their interchangeable nature, despite our limited awareness of their difference – is also implicitly seen in the following comments:

writers have given us librettos that could be played on stage. They have not taken advantage of the resources offered to them by the kinematograph. The tableaux stagings of the “Assassinat du duc de Guise” could take place on the stage of the Comédie-Française. . . . It is a routine play rather than a kinematographic fantasy (Gil Blas de Nozière, quoted by Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 106).

Others, however, while they acknowledge a kind of equivalence between film and theatre, lean more heavily to the side of singularity, as the following quotation demonstrates:

The cinema depicts scenes that could be played in a theatre. . . . Yes, this we observe with pleasure; but to present these plays to the public it is quick, cheap and goes everywhere . . . without a stage, without actors. This is an essential difference between the two modes of representation (Edmond Benoît-Lévy, quoted by Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 107).

In short, the debate is vast and appears to repeat itself throughout film history.


The term cinematographiation is derived from the neologism graphiation introduced by Philippe Marion in his study of the graphic singularity of the graphic novel. The term places the graphic monstration of the graphic novel under the pragmatic sign of an always-already signed graphic énonciation: graphiation. See Philippe Marion, Traces en cases: Travail graphique, figuration narrative et participation du lecteur (1993), 31.

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For the most recent evolution of the concept, see Philippe Marion, “Emprise graphique et jeu de l’oie: Fragments d’une poétique de la bande dessinée,”in Éric Maigret and Matteo Stefanelli, eds., La bande dessinée: une médiaculture (Paris: Armand Colin/INA Éditions, 2012), pp. 175-99.


Gaudreault and Marion, “The Mysterious Affair of Styles.”


André Bazin, “Le cinéma est-il mortel?,” L’Observateur politique, économique et littéraire 170 (August 13, 1953): 24. Reprinted in Trafic 50 (Summer 2004): 246–60.


In the case of Cinderella, this is seen in the excerpts from the passage rebroadcast on French television, presented on the site quoted in note 5.

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Christophe Huss, “Le Metropolitan Opera au cinéma–Un Rossini enlevant,” Le Devoir, April 11, 2011.

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