Entitled Sangre Negra, Richard Wright’s 1951 film adaptation of his novel Native Son is a coproduction with Argentine studio Sono Film under the direction of French director Pierre Chenal. Not only was the project undertaken during Wright’s extended period of exile, it also served as a means of projecting Bigger Thomas to a space that exceeds the local confines of the race struggle in Chicago, the novel’s specific setting. Situating Sangre Negra within a transnational context, this article considers the cultural implications of this film adaptation for forging links between African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans. The article argues that this adaptation serves as an attempt to realize Bigger’s aspirations for filmic representation expressed in the novel; at the same time, this character’s aspirations function as an unlikely vehicle for the ambitions of Argentine cinema. In this manner the adaptation serves as a symbolic form of adoption, whereby the predicament of the “native son” converges with that of the Argentine film industry, which, in seeking international recognition, mirrored Wright’s own ambitions for his most famous character.


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pp. 36-57
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