READING PASSAGE

THE BOOK OR THE FILM?

A top newspaper recently published a list of what it called the 50 best film adaptations of all time, and in doing so, sparked a vigorous debate on whether film adaptations of books can ever be better than the books themselves.

This is of course a matter that has provided food for discussion for a very long time. (1) _____ And there are others who maintain that films like The English Patient are far more accessible than the book and more than do justice to it.

(2) _____ Many insist that it is impossible to attempt to put on the screen the essence of what has been created on the page. (3) _____ Film gives us just one environment and one interpretation. The author of a book can go inside the characters’ heads and bring us their thoughts, worries and emotions, whereas in film we depend on the actor’s ability to convey this in speech and expression. Many people believe that film adaptations will always fall short, and that they simply provide a lazy alternative for those who like to be spoon-fed their entertainment.

Of course, film buffs have a different argument. According to them, film opens up the scope of the book. (4) ____ Another argument is that film takes a story to a much wider audience than the book and therefore in the long run, more people are touched by it.

But can we really compare the two? (5) _____ We can’t say one is better than the other because we aren’t comparing like with like. There are good books and bad books; there are bad films of good books and good films of bad books. However, it is probably true to say that seeing a film before reading the book may impair the enjoyment, as it is impossible not to bring preconceptions to the reading. The actor from the film will forever be fixed as the main character in your mind! Conversely, seeing the film after reading the book can spoil any enjoyment a surprise ending might have!

Maybe the answer is to forget the bad book if there’s a good film of it and forgo the film if the book is your favourite!


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Questions 1-5

Read the text. Match sentences 1–5 with the gaps A–F in the text.

A. They see reading a book as entering a world of the imagination where readers build their own pictures and make their own interpretations.

B. Aren’t film and print completely different media?

C. So, why are the ‘purists’ so fervently against adaptations?

D. But writers don’t necessarily have a film in mind when they create their books.

E. Soundtracks, special effects, good acting and directing all work together to bring the writer’s world to life and to extend it.

F. There are those who insist that classics such as 1984 should never have been adapted for the big screen.






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