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Homage and plagiarism in cinema

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  1. Difference between a homage and outright plagiarism
  2. Definition of plagiarism
  3. The explanation of similarities between Modern times, ' A nous la liberté' and Metropolis
  4. Common references and sources of inspiration shared by each of the three directors

Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times was a partial remake of Rene Clair's A nous la liberté (1931), a French comedy which was in turn inspired by Fritz Lang's 1926 science fiction epic, Metropolis. In this document, we try to find answers for the following questions: What did Chaplin borrow from Clair and Clair from Lang? What is the difference between an "homage" and outright plagiarism?
Defining plagiarism is a challenging topic. The concept of intertextuality should be explored in order to understand what is and what not plagiarism is. Indeed, the frontier between influence, homage and plagiarism is thin and an incorrect definition could lead to a miscarriage of justice. Throughout this essay, I will attempt to show that Modern Times is neither a remake nor homage nor a plagiarism but a unique masterpiece which has to be appreciated for itself. I will therefore try to refine definitions of intellectual property and intertextuality clarifying the distinction between influence, homage and plagiarism.

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