FL 380: Modern Latin American Prose Fiction:
An Archaeology of the "Boom"
- Guide to Movies #1
Jorge Luis Borges' Theme of the Traitor and the Hero
and The Spider's Stratagem
- Operatic musical theme that repeats itself.
- stratagem: labyrinth
- a spider's web
- Resemblance "iguale iguale!": Borgesian theme: the repetition
of a destiny.
- Universality vs. particularism (Human experience vs. Ireland and Italy)
- Architectural takes: labyrinthine -gallery, streets, piazzas, forests...
The directions given by the old men at the beginning of the film also strengthen
Athos Magnani: Comic note: 3 Musketeers: giving the game up.
Draifa: Alfred Dreyfus case (1859-1935): Alsatian Jew accused of wrongly
treason by the French Army in 1894. He was tried, found guilty and sent
to the Devil's Island. By 1896 it became evident that the real traitor
had been an "honorable" man Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. Rightists,
Catholic and Military elements found it unpalatable and inconvenient to
undo the damage. Esterhazy was tried but acquitted in minutes. The scandal
that ensued polarized public opinion. It was learned that much of the evidence
used against Dreyfus had been fabricated by the army's chief of intelligence.
Unable to admit their fallibility the court re-tried Dreyfus but found
him guilty and sentenced him to ten years. However, a presidential pardon
was issued. In 1906 the Supreme Court exonerated Dreyfus. In 1930 the papers
of the German spy that had been Esterhazy's contact were published. As
Athos Magnani had said: "It is not truth that is important but its
- The Theater vs. the Opera:
Verdi (1813-1901): an ardent nationalist, Verdi was himself associated
with the Italian Struggle for Independence. The death of the poet and patriot
Manzoni led him to write his famous Requiem (1874). The author of La
forza del destino -pun intended- employed Shakespearean themes in operas
such as Macbeth, Othello, and Falstaff.
- Mirrors: Abominable as the photographs and flashbacks of Athos Magnani
that recur in the film. Remember that Athos saw his murderer in the mirror
of the Theater booth at the moment where Rigoletto sung "la maledizione".
- The male-female rabbit:
Can a rabbit be a male rabbit? Latin: CUNICULUS: a rabbit, an underground
passage such as a burrow or drain. The rabbit and the burrow are one and
the same. As a longstanding female sexual symbol is the rabbit "mascio",
"femina" or both?
Is Athos/Nolan a traitor, a hero, or both?