Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Sex Representation and Interpretation in Murakami Haruki’s Norwegian Wood: from Novel to Film to Reader’s Responses in Vietnam

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Mahogany, First Floor

The presentation focuses on the meaning of sex when it travels from Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (1987) to the film directed by Tran Anh Hung(2010), and explores the impact of film adaptation on Vietnamese audience. In both the novel and the film, sex is constructed as a language, a potential ability for characters to know each other and the society. It is also the way for them to look deeply into their identity. However, by adding some love scenes and conversations about sex absent in the source text, the director draws attention to tragic love of Naoko and Watanabe instead of emphasizing on the triangle relationship between Naoko-Watanabe-Midori as in the original. While the novel regards sex as a resolution of people to understand the past and continue to live in the present, a mode of communication to go from the closing world to the opening one and as a result, the role of Midori is prominent; the film chooses details to highlight sex as an ununderstandable language that prevents the protagonists from exploring themselves, then the active effort and the grief of Naoko, in turn, is clearly depicted. These things create different effects to Vietnamese audiences, suggest different interpretations. This fact shows the tension between the interpretive strategy associated with the past of pre-renovation and the corresponding one associated with the present of post-renovation in Vietnam. It presents interpretive strategies by Vietnamese audiences today: nostalgia for the past or opening the possibilities of getting out of  the past.

Minh Thi. Nguyen

Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy, Vietnam

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Tuan Hoang Phong

Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy, Vietnam

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1 - Sex Representation and Interpretation in Murakami Haruki’s Norwegian Wood: from Novel to Film to Reader’s Responses in Vietnam



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