Anni Shen
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Kazuo Ishiguro’s film and television scriptwriting
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Moving beyond Ishiguro’s literary output, in the collection’s final chapter, Anni Shen explores ‘Kazuo Ishiguro’s film and television scriptwriting’. Making extensive use of the archive held at the Harry Ransom Center, Shen’s uniquely informed chapter argues that Ishiguro ‘expresses his ideas, in terms of themes, narrative voice, and character relationships, through screenplays before finalizing them in novels’. While countering the notion that Ishiguro’s screenwriting is something of an offshoot, a secondary form of his art, Shen demonstrates the centrality of A Profile of Arthur J. Mason (1984), The Gourmet (1986), The Saddest Music in the World (2003) and The White Countess (2005) to Ishiguro’s development of themes and characters that would become typical of and most prevalent in his fictions. Supported by unprecedented use of Ishiguro’s draft materials and his own thoughts about the relationships between screen and page, Shen traces the rich interconnectedness between his fictions and films. While uncovering these similarities, Shen also provides an insight into Ishiguro’s own meditations on his developing oeuvre, while highlighting the fact that film ‘remains at the centre of Ishiguro’s art [because] he divides his energy, especially at the beginning of his career, almost equally between these two media’. Concluding with a nod towards Living, Ishiguro’s English-language adaption of Akira Kurosawa’s quintessentially Japanese Ikiru, Shen powerfully resituates his screenwriting with the fiction.

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