Brian Selznick's 'the invention of Hugo Cabret', Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo' and the theft of subjectivity

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Sanders (2006) and Hutcheon (2006) are among the many theorists who challenge the Criterion adaptation of 'fidelity', and yet the frequent response to Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film 'Hugo' is that it is faithful to Brian Selznick's Caldecott Medal-winning book 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret'. This paper argues that in each case the medium determines a significant difference in the construction of subjectivity. The book's preoccupation with theft indicates the Lacanian concern with the origin of subjectivity and the implied author's subtextual guilt about his dependence on the work of another artist. The film's shift in emphasis to the necessity of relationships and family, however, parallels Kristeva's assumption that intertextuality is inevitable. As Geraghty (2009) points out, adaptation is by definition dependent on another text. Consequently, Scorsese's 'Hugo' ignores the book's concern with originality and, at a time when film is again being repositioned by technological change, celebrates continuity and the heritage of the medium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
Number of pages12
JournalRevista Soletras
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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