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.