By Shelley Cobb (auth.)
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Additional info for Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
It’s my favorite one. I didn’t much care for Emma at all. Interviewer: It was a little too sweet. Rozema: Like a little. Put some syrup on your candy. That’s what I lived in dread of. (Herlevi, 2000) It is often assumed that previous film versions of a novel inevitably have an intertextual relationship with later film adaptations of that novel, whether it is one of influence or resistance. But in this Envisioning Judith Shakespeare 45 instance, Rozema has to resist a whole group of films that obviously share the conventions of the heritage film genre, but which ‘critics nonetheless chose to define … as an isolated phenomenon, best interpreted not within the larger context of recent historical dramatizations but in terms of the author, the female author, herself’ and linking that female author with a female audience who suffered a ‘mania’ for her (Scholz, 2013: 123).
In fact, she invokes Woolf as an example of her choice to disregard the standard of faithfulness: ‘as Virginia Woolf took a step away from her source material, which is really what Vita was, and transformed Vita’s life into a novel, the film takes several steps away from the book’ (Florence, 1993: 282–283). 12 Ultimately, she uses the language of relationship to justify her ‘infidelities’ when she says, ‘I knew the book well enough [and] was enough in touch with its spirit, that it would have been a disservice to be slavish to it’ (Donohue, 1993: 10).
The manuscript Orlando offers for publication in the film is less specified, although it is implied that it is likely a novel by the way the editor suggests that she cut some parts and develop the love interest. It may also be implied, by the knowing look Swinton gives the camera after the editor asks her how long it took to write, that the subject is Orlando’s 34 Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers life. As a man, Orlando’s poetry is vilified, but as a woman she is published, although potentially censored by ‘market’ considerations in the film.