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January 1994


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Jonathan Beasley Murray <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Jan 1994 09:51:37 -0600
text/plain (63 lines)
A few weeks ago I posted a query about magical realism in film.
I thought I would thank everyone who helped me with this (still
incomplete) project, and that I might summarize some of the
My original list of films went something like this:
Arau, _Like Water for Chocolate_
Cox, _Walker_
Di Sica, _Miracle in Milan_
Jodorowsky, _Santa Sangre_
Kaufman, _The Unbearable Lightness of Being_
Schlondorff, _The Tin Drum_
Tarkovsky, _The Sacrifice_
Wenders, _Wings of Desire_
and maybe _Brazil_
Further, I referred to the article by Jameson ("On Magical Realism
in Film" _Critical Inquiry_ 12:2 (Winter 86): 301-325), in which he
discusses Agnuszka Holland's _Fever_ [thanks for those who
suggested where I might get a copy of this], Jacobo Penzo's _La
Casa de Agua_ and Francisco Norden's _Condores no entierran todos
los dias_.
Jameson's own definition of magical realism (which he suggests
might be "a possible alternative to the narrative logic of
contemporary postmodernism" [302]) is, in part, that it "depends on
a content which betrays the overlap or the coexistence of
precapitalist with nascent capitalist or technological figures"
At the same time, he also refers to the more conventional
definition of its being "not a realism to be transfigured by the
'supplement' of a magical perspective but a reality which is
already in and of itself magical or fantastic" (311).
Responses from cinema and screen lists suggested the following as
possible candidates for magical realist films:
_El Norte_, _Erendira_, _El Topo_, _Stalker_, _Solaris_, _Barton
Fink_, _Eraserhead_, _Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me_, _The
Butcher's Wife_, _Grand Canyon_, _Prospero's Books_, _The Fisher
King_, _Field of Dreams_, _Heaven Can Wait_ and the films of
Nicolas Roeg.
Written texts suggested included Carpentier's _The Kingdom of the
World_, Paul Coates' _The Realist Fantasy_ and John Izod's _The
Films of Nicolas Roeg_.
In afterthought, I've also wondered about parts of _Northern
Exposure_ as marking an accessible introduction to some of the
effects of magical realism.
If all this sparks any further ideas, please email me.  Otherwise,
thanks to everyone for their help.
Jon Beasley-Murray
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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