Adapting Narrative:

Minima Moralia Film Shorts Assignment

The Assignment

Throughout the ENGL 415: Narrative Adaptation course, we examined a number of narrative accounts of World War II, and of the Nazi Holocaust in particular. Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia, which he wrote while living in exile in the United States, contributes to this canon of narrative texts, though in a very unique way. Adorno’s style in Minima Moralia combines political theory and philosophy with narrative prose, personal history and, arguably, poetry. The question that we, as a class, repeatedly felt compelled to ask was: what kind of a narrative, if any, does Adorno's text offer us? To get at the heart of this question, this assignment asked students to do some adapting and translating of their own.

The Process

Students were instructed to select one of the vignettes from Adorno’s Minima Moralia and to prepare, in groups, a short film designed to summarize Adorno’s statements and / or reflect the essence of his messages in the given vignette. The finished films are roughly 3-minutes in length and, rather than rehashing Adorno’s words verbatim, they aim to offer creative interpretations of his ideas in a manner that is, in Bazin’s words, “true to the spirit” of Adorno’s writing. Students used Adobe Creative Suite software (Premier Pro, AfterEffects) to produce their short films.


"Refuge for the Homeless"


"Out of the Firing Line"

"Ego is Id"