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The Story of the Mexican Screenplay

A Study of the Invisible Art Form and Interviews with Women Screenwriters


Maria Teresa DePaoli

The Story of the Mexican Screenplay: A Study of the Invisible Art Form and Interviews with Women Screenwriters contributes to the international development of screenplay studies. While the debate on the ontology of the screenplay continues, a fact remains clear for screenwriters: the screenplay is the film’s skeleton and the main base that sustains a story told through images. Certainly, lack of visibility, including publication, distribution, and promotion, are some of the problems that the screenplay confronts, but these are not the only challenges. Traditionally, the form has been unappreciated and regarded by many as only an initial step in the complexity of film production. In this study, the author elaborates on the cultural baggage that the screenplay carries since it is text imbued with multiple signs that – for various reasons – often get lost in the process and never make it to the screen. In this context, the author touches on the concept of adaptation since it is often a key element in screenplay research.
The Story of the Mexican Screenplay focuses on a general historical investigation of the Mexican screenplay, specifically on women’s screenwriting. In addition to screenplay analysis, the interviews with women screenwriters are revealing of various cultural issues such as gender discrimination in the work place, political censorship, collective screenwriting, and collaboration among writers, and with the director. These topics explain, in part, the double marginalization of female screenwriting in Mexico.
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Chapter Two. History of the Mexican Screenplay and Women Screenwriters


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History of Mexican Screenplay and Women Screenwriters

In spite of its historical marginalization, screenplay should be at the root of film scholarship. There is fundamental need for studies that focus on screenplay by analyzing the semiotic correspondence between written work and film proper. A comprehensive understanding of the process that takes place in the aesthetic creation of film demands the implementation of robust theory and scholarly analysis dealing with the form. But why are reading, discussing, and analyzing screenplays not a regular practice in academia? Despite its popularity all over the world and the number of authors who dedicate themselves not only to screenwriting but also to advising on how to screen-write successful screenplays, historically the form has been both mistreated and overlooked. Kevin Boon points out that the bulk of literature produced concerning screenplay over the last three decades can be classified in three general categories: (a) recipe-type manuals on how to write the best screenplay, (b) texts that address screenplay writing as a business, and (c) books that discuss storytelling applied to the screenplay.

In scholarship, the majority of cinema studies appearing in literary journals center on film proper, but screenplays are seldom addressed. Hence the form has rarely benefited from the support of a coherent theory that seriously discusses its relationship to both film and literary studies. This is evidenced in the scarcity of scholarly publications dealing with the screenplay that are found, for instance, in...

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