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L'adaptation selon Luis Bu�uel: la litt�rature source d'imagination et de cr�ation

  • Author(s): Pra, Denis R�mi
  • Advisor(s): Gans, Eric L.
  • et al.
Abstract

Literature was a major influence in Luis Bu�uel's work and nourished a prolific and subversive imagination. As a constant source of inspiration, literary works influence Bu�uel's original screenplays as well as in his numerous adaptations. Throughout his career, these adaptations were critical; nineteen out of the thirty-two films that Bu�uel made were inspired by novels, short stories, or plays. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore Bu�uel's unique approach to adaptation, which some scholars have referred to as a bu�uelian style.

Following Antonin Artaud's theory in The Theater and His Double, Bu�uel's cinematography broke free of the traditional method of strictly going from literary text to image. Rather than relying on a single work of literature as the basis for a film, he incorporated ideas from other works. References to Cervantes, Lesage, Sade, Huysmans, and others writers appear in many films in addition to the novel on which the adaptation is based. Also, the influence of Surrealism is apparent in these films. In order to make these transformations, Bu�uel spent many hours working intensively on his scripts, to the point at which the shooting of the movie almost seemed to him secondary. Bu�uel never worked alone on his scripts. Luis Alcoriza, Julio Alejandro, and Jean-Claude Carri�re are a few of the screenwriters who helped him express his ideas by creating dialogue that remains true to the story.

Adaptation according to Luis Bu�uel also shows that Bu�uel's movies give special depth to the female characters: Celestine (The Diary of a Chambermaid), S�verine (Belle de Jour), Tristana (Tristana), Conchita (The Woman and the Puppet) to name a few. Bu�uel transforms these heroines of literary works of the Belle �poque. He emancipates them and makes them representative of the women of his time. Finally, I explore specific characteristics of Bu�uel's adaptations such as offbeat humor, omnipresence of religious themes, and systematic modification of the endings of the stories adapted. All of these elements help to confirm that there is indeed a recognizable Bu�uelian style of adaptation. As recommended by Andr� Bazin in For an Impure Cinema, defense of Adaptation, Bu�uel "restores the essence of the letter and the spirit" of the novels but reworks and modernizes them. In that way, the director gives the stories a new existence, providing the literary works with a second paternity.

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