Television and Screening of Literary Work for the Television

8 December 2016


The television today has become one of the most powerful means of mass communication, it has become an everyday man’s need of our century. It directly affects human’s education,  ethical and aesthetic formation. As a technical invention of the past century, television can be ranked among the most important communication means.

Advantages of the television compared to the radio and newspaper are that it affects the audience more strongly due to the fact that it is a visual-auditory communication mean. Its advantages compared to film and theater are that, unlike those two, the television goes to the audience’s homes, and as such, in today’s terms and furthermore in perspective it has a larger audience than the cinema and theater considered together.

Not everything broadcasted on the television is related to the artistic work. News, scientific and political conversations, information, have nothing in common with television arts.

Keywords: cinema, screening, literary work, author, television arts


What do we understand with television arts and do we have the right to use it?

It is known that every artwork is a mirror of the society in which they arise, its social currents, its passions, ideals and feelings, but the relation of art with the life of society is defined by the way of expressive means they use.

The reality is presented in different ways from: literature, theater and film.

If we follow how the film reflects the reality, we will understand that the film uses all the other arts from which it derives, brings them together in itself and also stands alongside them as a separate art.

Some elements of literature, theater, fine arts, music, become constituent to the film. These components, often contradictory are not located next to each other, but are melted in an organic synthesis to create a new artistic quality, for the creation of the film.

This is the reason why the film is called synthetic art.

Many creators, starting from the producer, screenwriter, operator, composer, actors, etc, not forgetting technical and economic coworkers participate in the creation of a cinematographic work. Thus, unlike other arts, the film is a collective (group) art.

The television, too, contains in itself all those opportunities and eloquence that the film has.

Artistic television at its core, has common elements with the cinema and somewhat less with the theater.

The television is similar to cinematography, which in contrast to the first, is based on the principles of fixation and reproduction of reality through optical-chemical-kinetic systems. The television borrows from the cinematographic art more than any other kind of art, yet the television on its’ way is experiencing a rapid development of its means of expression, is crystalizing its specific features, trying to build its own image, and gradually it is establishing its own aesthetic principles which should be recognized and adopted so that this new art and perspective is further developed.

Cinematography and television operate with the movable image on the screen combined with voice. There are two main differences between them: screen size and mode of perception or vision. Yet even these two features are sufficient to give television the right to have its own language.

Even by the structure of the artistic image, they orbit each other.

So, they are not far apart even from the view of the functions they perform, although “the small screen” becoming the guest of each household has an incomparable advantage with the one of the hall. Television connects with many  visible and invisible fibers of the radio as well, in terms of transmission, communication.

Then the question arises: What is television? Is it perhaps an amalgam of cinematography with the radio?

Even though it has absorbed the best qualities from them, specifically for this reason, it is larger then them together, thus, simultaneously is an  art and journalism.

Television equips them with  “the citizenship passport” to all kinds of artistic and journalistic creativity.

The word “television” which means looking from the distance, gives priority to the figure. His main speaker, the means by which operates is the appearance, figure and not the word, as is radio. Herein lies its great advantage in comparison with other types of art and journalism, then a picture is worth more than tens of thousands of words.

The technique of the television, in its every step has had a contemporary support from science and technology, introducing and implementing the updates they brought into continuous production and perfection up to the use of  color television.

Color television brings not only new technical quality, but also artistic quality too.

The television has its own language, the more and profound known by the executor, as well as from the audience, the greater its effect will be.[1]

What we call and what we include in screening is an aesthetic problem, the right choice of which depends on the basic definition of the relationship between literature and cinema, as separate and independent arts.

 “The screening of a literary work is a cinematographic form of art,  in which the author, by not standing outside the framework of the literary work,  recreates it with the language of film, with its expressive means, aiming to provide on the screen the pathos of the original, its artistic core as profound and poetic”. [2]
Within this definition, the screening is rightfully called a cinematographic form of art and outlines its means of expression. It also requires the literary source and spirit.

Indeed, the screening too, as a form of independent art has the language of this art, it is the form of cinematography and literature, and consequently, the film-screening cannot be called even a visual version of a literary work.

Why do we do screening?

Why does the art of cinema addresses to literature? Why is there a need for it?
Firstly, because cinema and literature are arts, and as such, both are subject to the general law of interaction and mutual influence. In the way of formation and its development, in particular the cinema would take from centuries’ experience of the arts, especially from the art of the word.

Secondly, screening brings back to the spectator the wealth of literature and it multiplies this powerful, social and cultural factor.

In the case of screening, literary work becomes a mean to nourish and enrich the cinematography with ideas, artistic concepts, life problems, subjects, conflicts and characters. Today screening is necessary, because novels help to enrich the content of films in order to develop spectators’ preferences. Screening brings certain social interests in certain historical moments, because in literary work’s ideas, thoughts and feelings that find the echo are explored. The relevance of ideas determines the choice of the literary work by the filmmaker.

Screening of the literary work for the television, from the beginning until final realization, contains in itself many stages and work processes, proper implementation of which is determinant for successful implementation of the act.

Screening of a literary work or its adoption is not an internal problem of the screenplay or drama; it touches all elements of film and television creativity.

Screening, borrowing or adapting material represents almost half of the world’s production of film and television.

In criticizing the choice of literary work, for its adaptation for television, specific features of television should be taken into account, ie. real possibility of its adaptation for television, creation of a new artistic quality with its audio-visual possibilities.

The scriptwriter or the producer in the work on writing literary screenplay should consider to adhere the ideas and main thoughts that cross literary work by eliminating those insignificant moments that do not affect the entirety of the work. Initiated by this basic idea, we should not move to the other extreme in order to screen print an artwork by standing to its points, simply turning into ilustrators of the artwork. Dramaturgy and the producer must stay at work and act it.

Thus, turning of a literary work is not merely a mechanical process, even if the techniques and specificity of this adaptation are recognized, however, beyond all, it requires deep knowledge of the era in which events, historical and categorical reports are developing.

Knowledge and proper comprehension of these factors is a main prerequisite for writing the successful literary screenplay.[3]

Today, screenings of literary works are among the most popular genres in the world, but they have started relatively late on transmitting first artworks.

First broadcasting of television plays has been produced in England in 1936. The first drama played was “The Man with the Flower in His Mouth” by Pirandello”.

The actors were forced to play in front of the cameras in a very serious light and with a makeup that today would be ridiculous for anyone. The actors of television studios at the time were forced ​​under very difficult conditions of scenes and filming, subjected to numerous not suitable tests in the studio. Noses and lips of the actors were painted with blue colour, and cheeks with green colour. This was done in order to strengthen the contrast of the image.

Later, the television by technical improvement of broadcasting brought in a significant improvement of programs. In addition to films and spectacles, different sequences filmed directly from stages started to be broadcasted. These can be called infant stages and initial steps towards the path of the original screenings.

Only after World War II, drama started to be processed for the small screen, and then from the mid 50’s started the television screening of the great genres such as novels.

The success of these screenings is that the adaptation of a television series is much closer to the artwork compared to the cinematic version. It shows the manifold aspects of human life, it manages to preserve the style of authors and to hook millions of spectators in front of the small TV screen through divided series just like the divided chapters of the novel.[4]

The television artistic movie has its similarities and peculiarities in comparison to the cinematographic one. It often happens for a literary work to be screened, therefore, a screenplay is constructed on the grounds of a literary work.

The structural construction between the two scenarios of the television movie and  cinematographic one has no difference. While the differences between these two types of films are those derived from their specifications:

The television film prefers cutting plans and massive scenes.

Prefers working with relatively close plans.

Prefers working particularly with portrait.

Construction of interiors in relatively close plans, summarized.[5]

This happens due to the television movie focusing its greatest attention to the dialogue that takes much advantage, knowing that psychological situations are characteristic for the television movie.

Television movie prefers the narrative work, while the cinematographic one does not, as it gives more priority to the action.

To screenprint, primarily means to obtain artistic content, and then to find the film equivalent of the literary work, to transplant the vital subject of one art to another but with other artistic means.

The creation of the imagination that basically fits with that of the literary work, is essential for the screenings. Here we are dealing with two characteristics:

First, when the film is produced on a motif, line or such of the novel, story etc., by generally standing loyal to their performance, and

Second, when the film is produced from scratch, so to say, so, when it is reconstructed by getting the original form.

Both these types of screenings are effective, if only they are embedded clearly and well.

There are three remaining ways  of screening of a literary work:

The easiest way is the transmission of the work, while staying loyal to it at all events, episodes, characters and expressive ways. This never brings birth of a cinematographic work with new and deeper emotions. The television film can do this better due to the unlimited time available, therefore it doesn’t miss anything from the literary work.

The second path is that of the cinematographic transplant of the literary work, even though they may lose some new film values, due to its condensation of events and actions, its realistic incarnation and its better complete dramaturgical combinations, events become ​​more dramatic, the characters become more reliable and emotions felt are deeper. This way is more frequent in our cinematography and has been successful.

Third path is the complete transformation of the literary work, seeing it with new eyes of the cinematic author.[6]

Literature can nourish the film in a dual way, in one side with its artistic experience, and with the concrete stuff of literary works in the other, that can serve as a direct source for the creation of cinematographic works. To take advantage of this food, filmmakers should know deeply the literature and its authors, their style and individuality. Only then, they may know what they have to study and learn to one writer and what to the other.

At Dritëro Agolli, we will learn truthfully the description of original events, through which flows a colourful life, the spirit of our people, creation of vivid characters with strong characters, witty satire, etc.

The work of D.Agolli is given to screening more easily; it is quite visual, filled with concrete actions, dramatic situations, susceptible and individualized characters.

 At Ismail Kadare, filmmaker can learn from the dynamics of the events, from the originality of topic capture, and the way of the entire artistic conception.

Ismail Kadare is a difficult writer for the large screen, as it handles more the literary figures than concrete actions and suits well the requirements of the small screen.

In order to screenprint Kadare’s work, it is needed to turn back to the basis of detailed material and should reorganize it so that important ideas are broken down into concrete images, and for powerful literary figures to find the cinematic element.[7]

 On the other hand more than the scene, television can take over the screening of the drama of modern and classical, national and world repertoire for tens and thousands of spectators. The dramas go greatly to the small screen.

Television is giving to the theatre scene a new auditorium, thousands of times greater than the biggest room can take, and thus the positive attempts are done in terms of transmitting the emotions and complete values of work on the screen.

A path followed for the transmission of drama in television is their screening, just like the spectator sees it in the hall, even without putting hands on them. While in some cases we have their genuine screening turning drama in a real scenario for the TV film. Even here we have the same route and principles to be followed for other literary genres as well. Both genres are very close to each other, since both are auditory visual genres; but what’s the difference between them? To this, we must distinguish features and peculiarities of each gender. Just like the film, drama has its dramatic development, its defining scene, its peak, and conclusion. Changes that distinguish it from the film are that the entire conflict in a drama takes place in a limited time, so there is no extension in time and space, the development of the drama is limited to the brooding and scenes, which cannot help for the specifics of theatre, to create breathing.

With regard to interpretation, the actor is obliged to perform in such a way that, to be followed by all the spectators as those who are at the top of the hall, and those to the bottom of it. Theatre lacks the ability to give different psychological situations of the characters in that possibility that cinematography gives, which uses simple tools, but that perform their function with great effect.

TV series have some greater expressive opportunities than cinematographic film. It provides a way to give life in its entire Epictetus. There are variations of environments, characters, events and situations. At this point of view, the serial approaches many-faceted novel.

This large extension of the serial film in space and time opens some problems, both for literary screenplay writing, and for its realization. Preservation of the unity of artistic work remains a key. It is necessary to maintain with consistency the dramatic curvature of the work and each character’s progress. Each series of the film should stand as a separate work, but also merged in its entirety. They should be on the upswing and preserve the emotional load.

Screenings can be done with the cognitive and promotional effect of our literary works, especially from the small screen, presenting them to the full range of the multidimensional lines of action and events.

Therefore, we have what screen, starting from the novels, popular poems, series of selected works, stories that are very comfortable for the large screen, etc. The wealth of our literature is great, where our film has found in the past, finds and will find an inexhaustible fount of motives, ideas, subjects and aesthetic values.

Our television audience through the small screen have watched a lot of television films, productions  of different broadcasters from around the world. Television series quickly became the preferred types of film, however, speculation began over it. Today for a film title, series go into hundreds and there is another case that may seem surprising when their number reaches four digits. Actors of these series are introduced as young, and with the continuation of the film for years, they grow old along with the character. The impact of literature on screen is an organic part of the natural process of historical development of art. It was ‘lectured’ especially with the affirmation of scenario as a separate literary genre.

Both drama and comedy in theatre are written to be staged and scenario is written to be realized on the screen.

Albanian literature has an endless and inexhaustible wealth of themes and subjects that could serve for accomplished screenings and at a good level. It is a good basis for this, a source with great ‘flow’ letting to affirm, that at present it is not used much and as needed by our filmmakers, and much more by Albanian TV film makers and implementers. Our literary works of all genders are and remain one of the most efficient ways for the thematic and the problematic enrichment of our film.

The accomplished artistic level of literary leads to accomplished levels in other areas of art, including here the cinematography and television in particular.

High quality is achieved by creators having multilateral interests, and great passion. In every work it seems to be clearly stated the philosophical thought and message. Without this, the works become ordinary, without this, any form, of any style cannot escape.

With courage, creative fantasy and professional competence, filmmakers should address to literary sources, but this cannot be achieved without knowing those very well, without being immersed in the depths of our best traditions, in the creativity of our great masters of pen: N.Frashëri, Çajupi, Migjeni, Noli, Kadare, Agolli etc.

In its width and with the real sizes of life also provided in the literary work, the TV series can and should operate.

Screening of the novel is one of the best bases, where creators need to pay more attention to this literary genre, which does not have the right place on our screens yet. Implementers of the TV series may struggle for more varied forms and foundations, which often arise from these literary works.

The great thematic wealth of our literature, allows besides the film with the original scenario to further development of screenings, an area with more interest in television.

Our television viewers being at the same time consumer readers of literary works will thus find, in the small screen of their houses characters they loved and encountered in the pages of books, those major events in the history of the nation, which the pen of our writers has brought vivid in literature. Thus, those vivid and other values of our literary would be brought by the warm interpretation to a camera that has already gained a kind of ‘TV’ communication experience with the audience.

This indicates that television has unlimited possibilities to perfect, even more its expressive means and capabilities in the future.

It should not be ignored the fact that television artwork is viewed at home by a limited circle of people, who do not have the spiritual preparation that the cinema or theatre viewer has, to watch the artistic work. This should be imposed to it only if we serve a work with a high artistic level and interpretation that responds to the specifics of the screen.

Considering that the size of the TV screen is smaller than that of the cinema, it would be appropriate the more frequent use of the torso and detail plans, but in this case in no way should we forget the legality of editing and moving on to the extreme by using only detail plans because the logic of the storytelling would be lost.

Television, here, is born and being developed vigorously. The achievements so far are optimistic, but there is still more to do.

At the conclusion, we may say that generally the artistic and television film in particular, has made ​​progress in terms of visual solutions thanks to greater creative freedom than ever before, as well as collaboration with foreign producers with technical abilities and better developed technology. The main thing is that the Albanian film did not end. Albanian cinema continues to have its own creators, to create its own complete system that the constituent elements necessary to be a “system” not to remain on paper, but become reality in the number of films, in a variety of genres and styles, and primarily, in national values and traits, to be full estimable, both domestically and in the integration of European and world culture.



[1] Ylli Pepo, “Albanian visual arts”, in The scene and the screen, Tirana, 1987, p. 23.

[2] Abdurrahim Myftiu, “From literature to film”, Tirana, 2002, p. 255. 

[3] Viktor Gjika, “ The figurative Solution in function of dramaturgy“ in The scene and the screen, Tirana, 1982, p. 9.

[4] Same, p. 11.

[5] Çapajev Gjokutaj,  “Director – author“  in The scene and the screen, Tirana, 1988, p. 19.

[6] Pirro Milkani, “Famous actors in unknown plans” in Drita, Tirana, 1990, p. 14.

[7] Same, p. 15.