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Becoming_'Arturo_Ripstein'_GRANT_Mediatico_JANUARY_2014_.pdf (770.99 kB)

Becoming “Arturo Ripstein”? On collaboration and the “author function” in the transnational film adaptation of El lugar sin límites

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-15, 14:51 authored by Catherine Grant
The article sets out a detailed case study of Mexican director Arturo Ripstein’s film adaptation of Chilean writer José Donoso’s 1966 short novel El lugar sin límites (‘The Place without Limits’, aka ‘Hell Has No Limits’), which featured a significant, though uncredited, contribution from the exiled Argentine author Manuel Puig. Non-mainstream and oppositional filmmakers and critics in Latin America — for example, Grupo Cine Liberación with their late 1960s formulation of ‘Second Cinema’ in ‘Hacia un tercer cine’/’Towards a Third Cinema’ (Solanas and Getino) — have often attacked, as ‘ideologically limited’, ‘ extranjerizante’ or ‘Eurocentric,’ and ‘literary’ or ‘individualistic,’ the kind of film auteurism in which Ripstein has engaged over four decades. Despite these and other similar attacks, it seems clear that this model of film production (along with Ripstein’s ‘brand’ of it) has been particularly resilient in the face of the political, economic and cultural vicissitudes of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s in a number of countries in the continent. Few sustained studies of auteurism as an internationally successful mode of production in Latin America exist, however. In this article, then, rather than focusing solely on the similarities and differences between the homonymous film and literary texts (the p rincipal critical activity in which studies of the adaptation process engage [Grant 2002]), I propose to use the transnational story of the adaptation of El lugar sin límites — as told from the point of view of its diverse ‘authors’ (Donoso, Puig and Ripstein) — to explore some questions concerning collaborative authorship across film and literary culture in Latin America after the end of the period of the literary ‘Boom’. I focus on the differences in the accounts that I reproduce here not in order to discover, or distil, a ‘true story’, but instead to show, and to work with, the diversity of authorial discourse about the adaptation of Donoso’s novel. While this particular case of transnational auteurist adaptation is a compelling anecdote in its own right, my examination of it will move beyond the biographical. As my title suggests, the discussion here is underwritten throughout by an interest in Michel Foucault’s concept of the ‘author function.’


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Mediático [weblog article, 27 January 2014]



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