Bifurcaciones en el camino: Cinco directores ante la obra de Miguel Delibes. [Spanish text]

Susan L Martin-Marquez, University of Pennsylvania


From novel into film: the subject has inspired countless studies since George Bluestone's pioneering work. More recent examinations profit from developments in critical theory such as structuralism, semiotics and reception theory. But all share a common preconception: the filmmaker should inscribe his or her work within the original text's interpretive field. Such an assumption in effect denies the adaptor's artistic freedom, labeling as "failures" or ignoring altogether films which do not demonstrate an avowed allegiance to their source. Yet as Keith Cohen suggests, a filmmaker may adapt a work in order to subvert or deconstruct it. This implies that the resulting film, if well realized, will stimulate the viewer/reader to re-examine (and thus better understand) the precursor text. Bifurcaciones en el camino brings this perspective to bear upon seven diverse films inspired in six novels by the contemporary Spanish writer Miguel Delibes: El camino (which generated two adaptations), Mi idolatrado hijo Sisi, Cinco horas con Mario, El principe destronado, El disputado voto del senor Cayo, and Los santos inocentes. Because the directors of these movies (Mario Camus, Antonio Gimenez-Rico, Ana Mariscal, Antonio Mercero and Josefina Molina) also participated in script preparation, they were able to exercise a greater degree of artistic control and lend their unifying vision to a largely cooperative endeavor. Each of the six chapters opens with an overview of criticism of the novel in an attempt to delineate the boundaries of exegesis. A brief sketch of the filmmaker's personal and professional life and the context of the adaptation in question follows. The remainder is devoted to in-depth analysis of the film, emphasizing the director's exploration of the cinematic medium's potential--involving such varied resources as non-diegetic music and camera angle and movement--in reworking the original text onscreen. This investigation highlights the complex interplay that may arise between Delibes' novels and the filmmakers' viewpoints, and frequently issues of politics and gender gain prominence. Ideally, these film adaptations engage the original text in spirited and illuminating debate while enriching the status of the seventh art in Spain.

Subject Area

Romance literature|Motion Pictures

Recommended Citation

Martin-Marquez, Susan L, "Bifurcaciones en el camino: Cinco directores ante la obra de Miguel Delibes. [Spanish text]" (1991). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9125715.