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Between words and images: A comparative study of Barlen Pyamootoo's Bnars and its film adaptation

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This study investigates the relation between literature in French and emerging cinema in Mauritius. It will focus specifically on a comparative analysis between Pyamootoo's novel Bnars (1999) and its film adaptation (2005). It will first examine the themes of absence and immobility central to the novel and show how the film transposes these thematic considerations on to the big screen. Secondly, it will examine the imagined tale of the voyage to Banaras, the Indian city, which is embedded in the main narrative of the return voyage to the Mauritian village of Bnars. In the novel, this play between the real and the imagined narratives is a crucial strategy that breaks the linearity of a conventional travel narrative. The discussions will demonstrate how the film deals with this important textual feature. Finally, it will ask if Pyamootoo's filmic transformation of his novel reinforces cultural differences that are discreet and underplayed in the original text. The responses to these interconnected questions along with a reflection on the use of Mauritian Creole as the film's language will provide a set of crucial analyses to review the concepts of national, transnational and universal in the context of Mauritian literature and culture.

Keywords: Mauritian film; Mauritian literature; national cinema; postnational; road movie

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Western Australia.

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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