Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chicken or egg? Book or TV script?

In my last post, meant to mention another telenovela made featuring the visual symbolism used by scriptwriter Julio Jimenez (someday I'll try refreshing my memory by re-reading comic novel "Aunt Julia & the scriptwriter", about a radio serial writer who starts mixing up his "real life" with flamboyant fiction??) I think it's titled EL CUERPO DEL DESEO, tho I could be wrong, confused by fact that book version has very similar title, only substituting word AJENO for part of title. (I won't give full title or author until I can at least borrow book from library! listing for TELEMUNDO station lists time on locally is 1 PM - 2 PM. ENTIRE series is apparently now available in local stores for less than $20. But while I'd snap up complete DVD of MADRE LUNA or LA VIUDA DEL BLANCO at that price (or even an edited version), probably will wait to borrow CDD from library, if I ever do try to view what I missed.

And I have missed a lot. That may be why I never got really engaged in following the story. (Other reasons may include telenovela seems based on story by someone other than Jimenez--or at least, the parts I've seen lack the warm & witty humor of the other two colorful stories (that wonderful "fool"--wise court jester to kingly Don Justino--the memorable Megateo in "White Widow"! And unrepentant "wicked rich old man" playboy Don Fidelio (unfaithful, in a way) who acts as "deus ex machina" (can't reveal now, as will spoil surprise for current view).

CDD basically is about "elderly" wealthy husband (played by Andres Garcia) who is killed by his young wife's lover, whom she then marries. But--Latin American magical realism alert--dead husband's soul is reborn into body of a dead peasant (see him busting out of wooden coffin in opening credits). "Young" man then works up his way to the top of the company he had owned in his previous life. Missed all that part, but appears he was befriended by middle age medium, played with pathos and humor by same actress who played prim, strict teacher who doted on deceptive lawyer that helped falsely convict innocent heroine Alicia in LA VIUDA DEL BLANCO.

CDD seems to have a lot of unappealing unfunny characters who apparently were put in for comic relief (i.e. Walter the bald butler: maybe hair styles have symbolism too, like "handsome hero's" weird beard. I guess if actor wouldn't cut his Fabio-like flowing locks to play Victorian twins in TRACION--I think it was called--guess only other distinguishing feature was facial.
Actress who plays widow/wife of husband back from grave also looks very different with bare forehead; used to seeing her with lots of long wispy bangs in eyes, 1980's type "big hair" curls.

Most of the "good" characters, to me, are missing the personality that made viewers become fond of; very sweet and beautiful--inside and out--examples like sweet Dulce Elena, niece of rich Fidelio, who at first seems a daddy's little girl, coy, shy blond airhead (her young male relatives really ARE Eurotrash idiot drones, even worse that P.G. Wodehouse's hilarious upperclass twits like Berty Wooster saved by butler Jeeves). We rapidly recognize (like "foolish" Megateo), she's very observant and intelligent, remarking simply and straightforwardly, very insightfully.

Maybe many "buenas" are too young, unlike 30ish Haydee (pronounced like English Heidi), the timid "grey" little mouse sister of our hero ( long squelched by their dominating mother used to running her family, business and entire town) who secretly becomes singing star after winning contest wearing mask in local caberet, going under name La Panterita, the Panther, wowing local Don Juan doctor who she's been secretly in love with, but who ignored her as quiet "good girl" .

Possibly CDD (aka "In the body of another", "The desire of another" or a neighbor) was inspired by biblical commandment against adultery, coveting another's wife or possessions.
At least one other telenovela I know of used familiar moral/religious lessons as a framework. Got to check if title is ABRAZAME MUY FUERTE most recent version based on book PECADO MORTAL ("Deadly Sin") by grand dame of golden age of radio & early TV serial dramas, Caridad Bravo Adams. Characters seem to embody so-called seven deadly sins--even hero & heroine!

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