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Malina: A Filmscript Based on the Novel by Ingeborg Bachmann, Scenes 116-123 Elfriede Jelinek Introduction Ingeborg Bachmann's novel Malina was published in 1971, two years before her death. After her death in 1973, fragments of the Todesarten (Ways ofDying) novel cycle (to which Malina was intended as the "overture") were published, leading to a réévaluation of gender relations in Bachmann's writings by feminist scholars in the 1980s and the creation of what was described by Sigrid Weigel as "die andere Ingeborg Bachmann" (the other Ingeborg Bachmann). According to Weigel, the "other Bachmann" is the later Bachmann, whose texts, in Weigel's reading of the Todesarten cycle, reveal a "structural relationship between fascism, patriarchy, ethno-, and logocentrism, and the central role of language/writing for this connection, which subjects the 'feminine,' as the embodiment of the repressed Other, to the most varied Todesarten, e.g., ways of dying" (Weigel 5, my translation).1 The importance of Bachmann and the Todesarten texts in feminist criticism caused Malina to become a type of "cult" book among feminist literary scholars. As a result, expectations were high when German director Werner Schroeter' s film version of Malina was released in 1991. The filmscript was written by another well-known Austrian woman writer, Elfriede Jelinek (1946-). The expectations of feminist viewers were not met, however, and the release of the film produced an outpouring of feminist criticism, resulting in articles such as Irene Heidelberger -Leonard's "War es Doppelmord? ,Anmerkungen zu Elfriede Jelineks Bachmann-Rezeption und ihrem Filmbuch Malina" (Was it Double Murder? Remarks on Elfriede Jelinek's Bachmann Reception and her Filmscript Malina), Kathleen Komar's '"Es war Mord': The Murder of Ingeborg Bachmann at the Hands of an Alter Ego," and Alice Schwarzer's "Die Hölle ist die Hölle" (Hell is Hell).2 Up-in-arms feminists railed against what they perceived to be the "murder" of Women in German Yearbook 16 (2000) 74Malina: A Filmscript Bachmann by Schroeter and by scriptwriter Jelinek. Alice Schwarzer, in particular, took Jelinek to task for what she viewed as a "betrayal" of women: "Men who trivialize sexual violence have, as (potential) perpetrators , an interest in doing so. Women who play down or even propagate sexual violence are, as (potential) victims, forced to be collaborators " (my translation). In a personal conversation in Vienna in February 1999, Jelinek expressed to me the frustration she felt at the reception of the film, explaining that she feels she has been unjustly accused of being responsible for the disaster that that film was, even though Schroeter had changed much in her script and had not followed the interpretation of Bachmann's novel that she had incorporated into her text. She also said that she had tried to write the script the way she thought Bachmann would have written it now, after twenty years of feminism .3 Thus, we offer this translation of a part of the filmscript to provide English-language readers with an opportunity to judge Jelinek's script for themselves. (Brenda L. Bethman) Scene 116: The apartment of Malina and the Woman. Indoors/Night The woman has been staring at the wall, evidently for hours, as the ashtray is once again spilling over with butts. A crack has appeared in the wall. Outside, dawn is breaking; it appears that the woman has been awake the entire night, which is noticeable in minute details. Her eyes are inflamed and red. She gets up and fetches a roll of adhesive tape from a drawer. She starts to tape over the crack, following its course. After a while, a wide zig-zag bandage runs down the wall like a lightning bolt. While she is taping the wall, the woman mumbles to herself: The Woman: I guess I could call now. She continues to tape until the entire crack is covered over. Then she goes to the telephone, dials, but hangs up softly before she has finished dialing. Suddenly, she runs against the wall as if crazed. Malina, already dressed, comes into the room. He yanks her away from the wall, sees the adhesive tape. Malina: What are you doing? He drags her away. The Woman: If no...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2578-5192
Print ISSN
2578-5206
Pages
pp. 73-74
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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