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January 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Val Todorov <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Jan 1994 14:19:44 EST
<[log in to unmask]> from "Jonathan Beasley Murray" at "Jan 21, 94 9:51 am"
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (73 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
> results.
> 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.
> Jon Beasley-Murray
> University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
> [log in to unmask]
Hi Jon,
I really don't know how could I miss your query. As I said in my intro
I'm from Bulgaria, and I myself work  in the sphere of the magical realism.
I know Jameson's texts about the subject (although I have many disagrements
with them). I have a paper on the Bulgarian cinema where I mention this
trend on the Balkans, and in Eastern Europe in general.
The novel, "Irkalla, the Land of the Dead", that I published in my country,
and which became a national bestseller, was actually a work of magical
realistic paradigm.
Milorad Pavic's "Dictionary of the Khazars" is the best example of the
magical realism in the region (and in the same time, of an exellant
interactive novel). The Latin American magical realists were extremelly
popular in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and, I believe, Russia. Almost all of their
works were translated.
Talking about cinema, I don't know how one can skip Emir Kusturica's
"Time of the Gypsyes", and all his other works. (And fortunately, all they
are available on video in the USA). I think that all Tarkovsky's works are
in that vein. Also all Miklos Jancso's films (I think he's the most important
Hungarian director of the 70's). Also the Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko
(many regard him as a genius). And if talk about Russia, I can say that at
least one third of the best directors there worked in that paradigm in the
70's and 80's. I'll mention only Elem Klimov (his "Come and See" is avail-
able on video in the USA); Alexander Sakurov, Tengiz Abuladze (from Georgia),
and many others that I can't remember their names, but if you're interested
I'll provide you with more information. Of course, the traditions of the
surrealism are very strong too, espesially in Czeckoslovakia and Russia,
so for some films is difficult to say are they more magical realism or
surrealism. But you know how difficult is to define properly the magical
realism anyway.
I'm not talking about the Bulgarian cinema, because if you're interested
I can send you my paper. Just I'll say that the two most important directors
of the forth generation work pricesely in that field.
And finally, I think that there are many Latin American directors that
are very important, but were not mentioned in your summery.
Miguel Littin, the Chillian director who made "Montiniel's Widow" with
Geraldine Chapline, based on Marquez's short stroy, has at least three
other films on scripts by Marquez, but for some reason they're not available
in the USA (God knows why they have some Mexican series on Marquez's works
which are nothing better than soap operas, but such a Master as M. Littin
is taboo -- is it censorship, or what:-) Littin made in France films on
novels by Alejo Carpentier, too.
These are all things from the top of my head, but if you have some specific
questions I'll try to give you better information.
I'm really interested in your research, so I'll be glad if we keep in touch.
It's so rare to meet an American who's interested in the magical realism,
so I'm really excited to hear about your project.
Good luck!
Val Todorov
[log in to unmask]
P.S. Sorry for the spelling and all these runout sentences, but I don't have
spellchecker in this mailreader, and time to make corrections. Bye.