The Problem of Film Theatre Intermediality in Jesus of Montreal

Laura Sava


My paper resorts to the recently theorized notion of intermediality in order to examine the representation of theatre in Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand, 1989) Far from being a stopgap term called into being by the ever more numerous instances of border violation between media, intermediality comes with a prestigious pedigree. It is a member of the ‘inter’ family (alongside terms such as intertextuality and interdisciplinarity) and a descendant of a comparative approach which extends far back in time, encompassing genres such as the apology and the paragone. Despite the fact that in film studies intermediality is still to a certain extent impending, it is highly applicable to instances where film quotes or references another medium. A focus on intermediality in Jesus of Montreal authorizes questions such as: Which are the prioritized connection points between film and theatre? How is the relation of the two media formulated by Arcand? How does a filmmaker stage a theatrical event for a cinema audience? My paper seeks to demonstrate and exemplify the sophisticated nature of the film’s involvement with theatre. To this effect, I shall use ideas drawn from intermediality studies, narratology and drama theory in conjunction with close analysis of chosen sequences.

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