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The Story of the Mexican Screenplay

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

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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 Four. A Text in a Constant State of Flux: From The Golden Cockerel to The Realm of Fortune

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• CHA PTER FOUR •

A Text in a Constant State of Flux

From The Golden Cockerel to The Realm of Fortune

Juan Rulfo (1917–1986) published El gallo de oro y otros textos para cine [The Golden Cockerel and Other Texts for Cinema] in 1980, twenty-five years after the publication of his internationally acclaimed novel Pedro Páramo (1955). Perhaps expecting another literary wonder, some critics were not impressed with The Golden Cockerel when it was first published. They found the linear structure insipid, and the characters too folkloric. Some people such as Paul Borgeson1 were also frustrated with the hybrid nature of the text, which displays an undefined genre: very long for a short story and too short for a novel. The first news of The Golden Cockerel appeared in the press in October of 1956. In January of 1959, a typescript made from Rulfo’s manuscript was registered in the copyright office. Although the text has received insufficient academic attention, there is some consensus among recent literary analyses to classify The Golden Cockerel not as a screenplay but as a novella.2 Whether Rulfo intended the text for cinema or not, the story was first adapted to the screen by three writers: Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Roberto Gavaldón. Thus, the homonymous film The Golden Cockerel (1964)—also directed by Gavaldón— was released long before Rulfo’s original text was published. A second version, El imperio de la...

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