By Shelley Cobb (auth.)
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Extra info for Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
Rozema, has asserted her authority over the adaptation quite strongly in interviews saying, ‘in the book, Fanny is interpreted through Jane Austen. In the movie, I’m the interpreter’ (Berardinelli, 1999). Resisting the demands of fidelity criticism that would have the filmmaker always submit to the final authority of the book unequivocally, she argues that ‘you have to claim ownership as a director because it’s not a Jane Austen movie, it’s a 44 Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers Patricia Rozema movie’ (Schwartz, 1999).
At the end of Orlando, the figure of the woman writer acts as a different kind of ‘Angel’ presiding over the possibility of women’s cinematic authorship. By aligning herself with Woolf through Orlando, Potter imagines female agency through authorship and maternal legacies. Potter’s identification with Woolf and, hence, a larger history of authorship, of both known women and unknown women, also acts to ‘put on the body’ of Judith Shakespeare: ‘Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the crossroads still lives.
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. Potter’s simultaneous identification and disidentification with female authorial and feminist legacies offers a model of conversation with those legacies.