restricted access Sujetos transnacionales: la negociación en cine y literatura (review)
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Reviewed by
Nayibe Bermúdez Barrios, Sujetos transnacionales: la negociación en cine y literatura. Ciudad Juárez: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. 2008. 296 pp. ISBN 976-607-7623-16-8.

Bermúdez Barrios's Sujetos transnacionales studies three films: Novia que te vea, Miroslava, and Ilona llega con la lluvia. All of them, two Mexican and the other Colombian, were released during the 1990s and include women who are or who have been subjected to marginalization due to their race, nationality, [End Page 1030] ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Likewise, they were all novels (Rosa Nissán–Novia, Guadalupe Loaeza–Miroslava, and Ávaro Mutis–Ilona) before they were produced as films. The author is not only interested in discussing how these narratives came to be produced as cinema but also analyses arguments she views as important and how they are portrayed on the silver screen.

This study is the fruit of the author's doctoral thesis, which she wrote while a student at the University of Kansas. Even in her introduction she is quite clear about this fact. The book does have a doctoral thesis feel to it, which is perhaps most evident in its structure. A thorough introduction to the body of her work is followed by three chapters and a summarizing conclusion, which is followed in turn by an appendix of two interviews (an interesting one carried out in Mexico City with Rosa Nissán and another with Sergio Cabrera, the director of Ilona llega con la lluvia, during his visit to the University of Kansas).

The analytical chapters are hefty and demonstrate the author's desire to delve deeply into each subject. However, their progressive reduction in size (they are quite long, but each one is progressively smaller) tends to give the impression that the author's forte is the work of Rosa Nissán. This gusto for Nissán's writings becomes manifest in the appendix interview as well. The author's abundant use of footnotes can be a bit cumbersome at times, but they do evidence her zeal to convey more information on the topic at hand and often contain helpful background information and additional points–some of which probably could have been successfully incorporated into the main body. In her analysis of the subject, Bermúdez Barrios demonstrates a keen interest in the texts themselves and concentrates a great deal of her analysis on cinematic techniques such as the voice-over and the flashback.

The author has been able to include a large number of black and white stills within this volume. This is a positive detail as it not only provides a source of visual examples and points of analysis within the text but also helps the reader who might not have been able to obtain these lesser-known films observe many of the examples the author underlines in her study. This is a definite plus for a book which is helping to bring cinema with a smaller impact outside Latin America to a wider, and possibly less specialized, readership.

Sujetos transnacionales does give the impression at times that it centres so much on certain points of analysis that it might exclude some obvious details which could possibly have been beneficial to the text. The author mentions, for example, the adaption of Nissán's novel into its filmic form, but what she does not discuss are the problems between the three scriptwriters (Schfter, Nissán and Hiriat), and how the project was taken from Nissán and transformed in ways of which she did not approve. Commentary on what eventually became a public issue (as Nissán and the other scriptwriters took to the papers in their venting) could have been useful inasmuch as some of their disagreement had to do with the portrayal of the female protagonists–a point of interest to Barrios's study. Another example of this can be found in her introduction, where she goes to great lengths to link the two Mexican films with the Colombian one, with an argument that is plausible, without mentioning the clear Mexican connection that the Colombian author has. Álvaro Mutis spent a significant time in...