Singapore University of Social Sciences

Film Adaptations: The Business of Reinterpreting Shakespeare

Film Adaptations: The Business of Reinterpreting Shakespeare (FLM363)

Applications Open: 01 October 2023

Applications Close: 15 November 2023

Next Available Intake: January 2024

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: $1391.78 View More Details on Fees

Area of Interest: Digital Media

Schemes: Alumni Continuing Education (ACE)

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Humanities & Behavioural Sciences


FLM363 Film Adaptations: The Business of Reinterpreting Shakespeare asks students to consider why and how 400-year-old Shakespearean text has been adapted into film and continues to appeal to modern audiences. The course starts with a brief look at William Shakespeare’s historical and political context, and then moves into the ways in which Shakespeare was adapted from the page to the stage to film, developing various film conventions along the way. The course will survey adaptations of Shakespeare in various languages and styles, with attention to filmic aspects such as mise-en-scene and acting. It will also look into factors such as genre, ideology, the social and cultural context, the role of the celebrity, marketing, authenticity, and appropriation by various cultures.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • William Shakespeare: What Do We Know?
  • The Shakespeare Film
  • Case Study: Franco Zeffirelli
  • The Screenplay’s the Thing
  • Turning Stage Customs into Screen Conventions
  • Film Genre—Descriptive and Functional Approaches
  • Case Study: Three Hamlets and Their Genres
  • Stylistic Techniques
  • Case Study: Mise-en-Scene, Cinematography, Editing, and Music in Romeo + Juliet
  • Speak the Speech, I Pray You
  • Actors and the Marketing of Shakespeare in the Film Industry
  • Actors and the Prestige of Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare Without Language
  • The Politics of Language: Rejecting, Reframing, Accepting
  • How Cultural Differences Impact Adaptation
  • How Directorial Influences Impact Adaptation
  • Who Owns Shakespeare?
  • Ideology and the Shakespeare Film
  • Shakespeare’s Impact
  • From “Is It Shakespeare?” to “Is Shakespeare in It?”

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate engagement with the key debate in adaptation: authenticity versus originality.
  • Show understanding of the language, themes, and socio-historical context of Shakespeare’s works and how they are appropriated and made relevant in film adaptations.
  • Examine the various approaches and challenges in adapting, directing, and performing Shakespeare on film.
  • Analyse the ideological underpinnings in adaptation, the role of genre, and the ways in which filmic techniques are used to reinterpret Shakespeare for the screen.
  • Appraise the ways in which filmmakers adapt and reframe Shakespeare in various languages and for different audiences.
  • Formulate assessments of production factors and business decisions in making, marketing, and distributing film adaptations.
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