By Shelley Cobb (auth.)
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Extra resources for Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
As the editors of Sisterhoods: Across the Literature/Media Divide observe, feminists, ‘sometimes actively disagree about the radicalness of a particular perspective or strategy. , 1998: 6). Much of the early criticism of Orlando seems intent on judging Potter’s feminism without much self-consciousness that feminism and feminist history is an ongoing process of disidentification and identification. Potter’s conversation with fidelity, feminism, and 32 Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers Woolf, holds this process of disidentification and identification in the balance, leaving feminist criticism of Orlando to choose to engage with that process or not.
She shoots Orlando’s face in extreme close-up, her mother’s eyes, nose, and mouth filling the screen. ’ to which Orlando responds, ‘I’m not. I’m happy. Look. 4 The film cuts from the camcorder point of view to a close-up of Orlando, looking directly at the audience, nearly expressionless and yet serene. Orlando has been analysed and interpreted many times, but by focusing on the figure of the author, I read the film, through its ending, as a cinematic vision of matrilineal legacy that not only connects women authors across time and history but also across 24 Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers media and disciplines by considering it through Virginia Woolf’s claim that, ‘For we think back through our mothers if we are women’ (Woolf, 1929: 76), and Potter’s own explanation of the ending: I could be a mother, but I’m not.
At the centre of this self-authorizing project is the figure of the woman author, who appears in various forms: Orlando, her daughter, Potter, Woolf, and, though Potter does not use her name, generations of Judiths. 11 Let me pause briefly to point out that not all adaptations by women in the 1990s were made from novels of the long nineteenth century, or, as it is often referred to, ‘the past’. In Chapter 3 I discuss adaptations of contemporary 1990s novels by women adapted by women filmmakers that particularly embody a cross media image of collaboration and company.
Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers by Shelley Cobb (auth.)