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Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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Adapting a classic piece of literature into film is a sophisticated task.The adapter has duel responsibility. On one side,he or she has to preserve the originality of the classic and on the other,he/she must be able to communicate the real meaning of the piece of literature. Utilizing a verity of techniques Daniel Petrie, the director of the film , A Raisin in the Sun(1961) did not only preserved the originality of the play, but also successfully transferred this classic of Afro American literature into a highly commendable film. Let me first discuss those adaptation techniques briefly. There are seven ways in which an adapter can transpose a play into movie (Desmond and Hawkes, 2006). These are visualizing the set, lighting, casting, musical tones, symbols and motifs, camera angles, and shot length. However, a creative filmmaker would not rely upon just one technique and would employ a variety of tools to make a movie engaging. Daniel Petrie used creative frame composition and shot variation to communicate the strong and shared emotions within the Younger family. Further, he brings the climax of the movie by capturing facial expressions of the characters in a close up. Moreover, he added or omitted various scenes and dialogues during the process of adaptation in order to make the flow of the film . Similarly, he creatively used music to communicate the real feeling of the characters and to move his audience In A Raisin in the Sun, the strong shared emotions and relationship of the black family play an important role to the overall development of the plot. The director communicated this emotional empathy with a creative series of shots and compositions that visually represented the shared emotions. Through the employment of this technical cinematic method, Petrise actually emphasized many important scenes of the play in his film. For instance, in Act Two, Scene One of the written play, for the first time in film, he uses frame composition to share the collective family emotions. In fact this scene communicates a wide range of feelings. When Mama shares her purchase of the house in a better neighborhood, she herself and Ruth seems relieved and satisfied. Contrary to both the women, Walter not only seems angry and despairs but his dream of opening liquor shop seemed sunken. However, on the other hand Mama herself shows fear of the Walter’s possible reaction towards her decision. Screenplay script runs with an array of emotions and the filmmaker successfully expresses those emotions visually. The director utilized camera perfectly to capture those changing emotions on the actors’ faces. For example, Walter mood changed from disbelief to dissatisfaction on hearing that the money has been used to buy a house instead of its investment in business. On the contrary, Ruth was extremely happy. But when Mama told them the location of the house, Walter became angry while Ruth’s frame of mind changed from joy to worry. Thus apart from dialogues, film depicts a vast spectrum of emotions through visuals. Petrise choice of using face-close-up is really effective. Petrise uses camera angle to create emotional effects. In Scene Three of Act two, he uses mirror to reflect Walter’s inner conflict . The camera cuts back and forth between Walter and Mr. Lindner. Through this technique, the director not only intensified the emotional meanings of the scene but also reflects Walter’s changing understanding of Mr. Linder offers. Film is a visual media therefore it is always preferable to rely upon emotions for the climax instead of dialogue (Duncan, 2006). Petrie’s another smart choice is his exposition of climax through emotions rather than dialogues. These are the emotional moments when Bobo reveals about Willy’s run away along with their investment. This is disturbing news not only for Walter and Bobo, but for all the Youngers. During these critical moments Petrie’s framing Ruth into the scene is an ingenious choice as her reaction on such news is what viewers want to note. Moreover,